Cities

Want Economic Growth? Try Urban Density

People become more productive when they're packed closer together. Sprawl does the opposite.

The more, the better.

Source: Bettman/Getty images

Here's a big economic and political thesis: The U.S. has run out of frontiers, both literal and figurative. At first, growth was fueled by expansion into the West, use of natural resources and the build-out of national infrastructure. In the early- and mid-20th century, an unprecedented explosion of new technologies -- electricity, automobiles, airplanes and others -- opened up the suburbs, which acted like a new frontier. More recently, the Internet and globalization, especially China, were frontiers that gave the economy yet more room to expand.

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