Are cities engines of production or consumption, and does it matter?

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Although urbanization began many millennia ago, for most of human history cities were home to the few. At the beginning of the first industrial revolution in 1765, less than 10 percent of the population lived in urban areas and economic growth largely depended on the productivity of the rural workforce. Since then, urbanization has expanded at a steady and path-breaking rate in all regions, fueled by growing demand for urban workers and technological breakthroughs such as the construction of tall buildings.

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