- May 1, 2018: Vol. 12, Number 5

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The illusion of size: A large city is not necessarily a great one

by Maurizio Grilli

A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one, so said Aristotle. I hope readers will excuse my continuous references to the Greek philosopher, but one thing is certain: while it is true that in ancient Greece the concept of state was very different from today, Aristotle made it quite clear that the fortunes of a city are not strictly related to the size of its population, but rather to its distinguishing features. Among these, the philosopher quoted talent, the rule of law, trade openness and quality of life.

Cities are the most ancient model of social organisation and have proved to be more resilient than countries. They support people in improving their standard of living, through factors such as income, stability, freedom, environmental quality and safety. Logically, these benefits should be reflected in higher and more stable real estate prices, as well as attractive returns. And as a corollary, investing in successful cities should be a recipe for long–term

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