Ok, that might be overselling something with the title. That cities sprouted along rivers and ports is accepted fact. i feel like what isn’t accepted fact is what happened next. Cities continued to grow throughout the industrial revolution even though rivers were no longer used for power. Power still held cities together, though, for quite some time.
Industrial centers not only provided electricity to city centers but the outlying regions. Industries that has been in city centers staid there for a while and then moved out. Certainly, there are various reasons for this, but one has to be that steam was also a product of city centers. Power companies provided steam to industry at some level. I’m not sure how pervasive this was, but it was definitely a factor keeping production in city centers.
As steam went out of use to run machines, and as traditional industrial machines became less of a factor in production, business were free to leave city centers.
Now the point. Cities once could coerce businesses into all sorts of concessions due to the business needing the city. Today, most businesses could move numerous places without noticeable productivity loss. Cities are now making the concessions. Cities can no longer take businesses for granted. Yet, they do.
I think I am calling for people to rethink the purpose of cities and elect leaders who respect business. The kind of respect I am calling for is that not only does business need to be fostered, but that business produces a kind of life as it flourishes. This life is bigger than the officials who should be stewarding the city, but instead are ruling it.
This is a thought in process.