The World Bank agrees that startups can transform cities. As we deal with post-industrial life, could startups be the answer to inject new life into formerly dead and dying cities? If so, how can they be managed so that they don’t have a negative effect on city life and the urban population? Keep reading to find out.
To begin a startup, one has to be strong in character and prove themselves in this hard field, made from predictions, calculations and numbers. There are many challenges along the way, but certain preparations can be made to ensure success. And the best thing is: this will benefit not only one person. The most obvious way that startups affect cities is by creating new jobs. As technology advances, old jobs like manufacturing are replaced with those that require technical knowledge. These new jobs are not only in the startups themselves. Traditional industries can also introduce technology in their process and in doing so create new areas for people to work in.
Startups also benefit cities by attracting resources. Companies like Google or IBM are attracted to cities that have developed strong startup ecosystems. Research and development companies also find these cities attractive for the talent and innovation they provide. Once these companies are in the city, they have the effect of multiplying the competitiveness of the city overall.
Transforming infrastructure is a long-lasting effect of startups in cities like Brooklyn. There, more than 500 tech companies moved their operations to the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. What was formerly office space in DUMBO, or Downtown Brooklyn, became hot real estate. Depressed neighborhoods or those that were losing traditional companies get a literal new lease on life due to startups.
Some experts think that startups should contribute to the city they come from as it’s one of the best paths to success. Some ways they can do so include mentoring members of the local community. In doing this, they are engaging with the residents around them and not just using space in their neighborhood. This also counts as a form of knowledge sharing that can impact the community’s future.
There’s also the option of sharing ideas with the area that relate to a startup’s core business. Using the know-how that startup founders apply to products and services can directly apply to challenges that the community faces.
In the same way that startups can be helpful, some say that they can also be detrimental to a city. Often, they price out lower-income families from inner cities. The only people who can afford to live in startup cities are higher-paid bankers and software developers. There is an almost insurmountable gap between what the Wall Street Journal called the “big-city elites and the urban underclass”.
If startup cities are to be sustainable, it’s vital that urban planning involves building cheaper housing to house the service workers. These include nurses, teachers, and police officers. If not, these vital employees will either relocate to suburbs far outside the city or have to leave it altogether. It’s vital to balance these two competing needs, as a city without these services cannot survive.