The financial turmoil impacting many of the traditional cities in the country—including ours as this story from the Bee today recounts—has, however, been a boon for those whose reliance is on the energy business, and this very interesting article by Joel Kotkin , author of The City: A Global History, takes a look at some of them.
“The steep hike in gas and energy prices has created a national debate about the future of American metropolitan areas -- mostly about the reputed decline of suburbs and edge cities dependent on cars. But with all this focus on the troubles of traditional suburbs, one big story is overlooked: the rapid rise of America’s energy-producing metropolitan areas…
“In the process, there has been a shift in the balance of economic power away from financial and information centers like New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. These cities are deeply vulnerable to the national financial and mortage crises. New York, according to David Shulman, former Lehman Brothers managing director, faces upward of 30,000 to 40,000 layoffs in its financial sector. San Francisco in the last quarter gave away a Transamerica Pyramid’s worth of office space.
“In contrast, things have never looked better for cities now riding the energy and commodity boom. By far the biggest winner is Houston, whose breakneck growth has been fueled by its role as the world’s premier energy city. As with Dubai, this is less a function of the city's proximity of actual deposits (though the Gulf of Mexico represents one of the most promising energy finds in North America), than to its premier role as the technical, trading and administrative center of the worldwide industry.”