Project for public spaces has a great article listing 21 places around the world that made smart transportation choices and created great public spaces along the way.
The Prague Institute for Global Urban Development recently released a study describing the share of urban centers in generating wealth in countries. In all the countries they surveyed, the urban regions accounted anywhere from 40% of the economic pie in developing countries to as much as 80% in the OECD.
In all countries surveyed, the share of the economic pie contributed by the urban regions was always greater than its share of the national population, with many accounting for a GDP slice almost double the population slice.
Given the dominant position of cities, the Prague Institute argues that metropolitan regions, particularly large urban agglomerations, must develop Metropolitan Economic Strategies, as ultimately, the competitiveness of the urban regions will drive the growth of the country as a whole.