Updated Oct 15, 2022 - Economy

The next frontier for power and influence

Illustration of a lightbulb with a location icon for the filament

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

My biggest obsession about the future of America is the fast β€” and permanent β€” rise of population, experimentation, wealth and dynamism outside New York, San Francisco and D.C.

Why it matters: Influence and power are forever spreading to places like Phoenix, Austin and Boise, as people seek better weather, cheaper living, more space, and more normal people and experiences.

These rising cities are growing so fast that the ring of suburbs around them is sprouting faster too.

πŸ”­ Zoom out: There is a permanent realignment. Here's why:

  1. The professional class is leading the revolution. In a tight labor market, millions are demanding the freedom to work from wherever. Yes, some will be forced back into full-time, in-person work. But millions of smart, educated, well-paid people will never return.
  2. Ground zero for the next wave of technologies. You need density β€” lots of people, tons of talent β€” to bring 5G (exponentially faster internet), drone delivery, driverless cars and digitally connected cities to life. This is a big reason places like Phoenix and Denver are booming. These technologies will be perfected and regulated in rising cities.
  3. Uncle Sam's nudge. The rollout of 5G and faster internet, expedited by last year's infrastructure law, should make it even easier for workers to live near these cities but also have land and space, widening the local labor pool.
  4. Business cements it. The smart businesses are adapting fast, starting hubs in rising cities, allowing people to work from home, buying up shared office space for those who want in-person options, and raising their profiles in recruitment and image advertising. Business goes where the action is.

πŸ–ΌοΈ The big picture: We are so confident in this trend that we are making one of the largest new investments of the digital era in local journalism β€” betting the top 100 cities and beyond will be reinvented and need clinical coverage of the unfolding change.

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