Easily dismissed as a hippie's post-capitalist dream, Portland has discovered that quirkiness and differentiation is simply good business
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CITIES - the enabling urban environment : . . . "The common thread through all these efforts is differentiation. Post-recession, U.S. metros seem to be rediscovering what makes them special, the distinctiveness of what they make or provide and sell to the world, rather than what makes them the same. Today, as Portland demonstrates, notions of globalization recognize that all cities are fueled, to different degrees, by global investment and connected, in distinctive ways, via global commerce and exchange. Peter Marcuse and Ronald Van Kempen use the term globalizing cities to reflect that: "...(almost) all cities are touched by the process of globalization and ... involvement in that process is not a matter of being either at the top or the bottom of it, but rather of the nature and extent of influence of the process." The global economy is essentially operating as a network of globalizing metros that naturally trade together because of natural links between their major companies and universities, driving economic clusters and financial and migration flows. Portland shares a common focus on sustainable development (and an emerging cluster of like minded firms) with Copenhagen, Stockholm, Curitiba, and Singapore. Madrid, Hong Kong, and Dubai are centers of media and information. Nagoya, Stuttgart, and Detroit are globally significant manufacturing hubs. The Hague, Brussels, Washington, New York, Geneva, and Nairobi are centers of global decision-making. Boston, Cambridge, and Nanjing are important nodes in the global academic network."