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Spatial Economics: The Declining Cost of Distance


For centuries, the cost of distance has determined where businesses produce and sell, where employers locate jobs and where families choose to live. What if this cost fell dramatically?

A new report from Bain and Company reveals how spatial economics will shake up long-held models of lifestyle and work, and how businesses and investors can transform for a post-urban world.

Read the full report: Spatial Economics—The Declining Cost Of Distance

That change already has begun in the world’s advanced economies and is gathering momentum. Over the next two decades, the cost of distance will decline sharply, according to Bain research, altering the way we live and work—faster than most people expect and more broadly than many imagine. This next big economic shift will create an astonishing array of opportunities for businesses and investors—and unexpected risks.

The catalyst for this historic shift is an array of new platform technologies that have pushed the cost of distance to the tipping point. Multibillion-dollar investments in robotics, 3-D printing, delivery drones, logistics technology, autonomous vehicles and low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites are giving rise to new products and services that sharply erode the cost of moving people, goods and information. As these technologies combine and converge, change will accelerate.