I think the economy of big cities is one of under-researched topics in economics, particularly on the positive contribution from otherwise "unruly" features of a city --slums, city dwellers, crowded sidewalk, counterfeiting business, etc.
During this weekend, I am reading the captivating Jane Jacobs' classic, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I know this is way too late, it has been published since 1961, but her fresh attack on how the then latest urban planning trend (such as Le Corbusier, --the architect, not the mentalist (sic!)) misunderstood city life still sounds relevant even today. It makes a lot of economic sense, too.
Having been reading some of the early chapters, I have a question, perhaps to criminologist: Is the crime record in Jakarta's crowded housing districts (Tanah Abang or Senen area) higher than in the suburbs (Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi), where the so called modern urban housing planning has been heavily exercised? --If the records are neither available nor reliable, a careful observation on Pos Kota will do.
My guess, it isn't. Presumably, high population density and close interaction will produce positive externalities of an informal surveillance system for public order. But maybe I am wrong.