Some economic innovations pioneered in Great Cities:

1. Baltimore: B & O Railroad for logistics; tin can packaging of food products; business district self-taxing for extra services

2. Boston: public market, public schools; individual political freedoms; historic district preservation; light bulb filament and threaded socket

3. Buffalo: Erie Canal terminus for portage between waterways; electricity as consumer product; mass production techniques for grain

4. Chicago: reversed river's course to protect water supply; elevators to allow higher office buildings; creation of cultural center public space 

5. Cincinnati: slaughterhouse logistics; rail consolidation; regulation of development on slopes

6. Cleveland: steel making and petroleum refining processes; 19th century advertising and graphic design

7. Detroit: Ford Motor Company assembly line mass production; first paved road and freeway miles; eminent domain use

8. Milwaukee: machines such as typewriter and motorcycle

9. New York City: mass media and popular entertainment; public investment in mass transit; fire safety codes in factories

10. Philadelphia: Ben Franklin mail delivery standardization and consumer product inventions; water pumping technology; 

large-scale ship building; workshops of the world cluster


11. Pittsburgh: alternating current; air brakes; robot; Roebling Bridge design and construction; iron casting; commercial radio broadcast

12. St Louis: steam-power in goods distribution; regional "gateway" to the West; levee engineering 

Manufacturing in the Great Cities as a Share of the National Economy



The next tier of industrial centers, Ohio’s Youngstown, Dayton, Akron and Toledo, and Minneapolis/St Paul, Indianapolis, Washington DC and Newark, produced another 5% of U.S. value-added, from 2.7% of population.

Much infrastructure was pioneered in Great Cities: bridges, rail lines, electricity, water and sewerage systems, health and education service delivery systems, consumer goods, skyscrapers.

These centers boomed, then declined, and now innovate new forms of communal living, because they use infrastructure efficiently. 

© 2017 by Janet Anderson PhD, Great Cities lover