For further evidence, watch any TV show making fun of rednecks. You'll typically see things like an excavator used to create a waterfall for everyone to swim through, or someone fastening a lawn chair to a beefed-up, self-propelled push lawnmower to make a riding mower.
City life very well might increase innovation in certain fields. I'd posit that country life increases innovation just as much, but in different areas.
Innovative people are everywhere - the benefit that cities offer is that for every unit of space you have a greater number of people, thus you're likely to find a few intelligent, like-minded people condensed into a smaller area. They become easier to find an collaborate with. To use a metaphor: you have a better chance of picking up in a bar if there are 50 members of the opposite sex than 5.
How do you know that?
Outside of City a can have big house for my family, spend 3+ hours/day on my hobbies. And even make enough savings for 1 year runway for my startup :-)
Doesnt large house take more energy to heat? Don't people in the burbs drive more?
Just google for 'suburbs environmental impact' you'll get thousands of hits/studies
" if you want to be good to the environment, stay away from it. Move to high-rise apartments surrounded by plenty of concrete. Americans who settle in leafy, low-density suburbs will leave a significantly deeper carbon footprint, it turns out, than Americans who live cheek by jowl in urban towers."
Prague is like that, most people live at concrete apartments. But they also drive to summer house every weekend and go to holiday four times a year.
Phoenix, AZ is an abomination. Don't even get me started about golfing ranges in the Western desert while Lakes Mead and Havasu are running dry.
I was using an 'impersonal you'
You deal with different problems in and outside cities.
I think a mix of both is the best you can get to get more Innovative!
When i Study i live in a 2+Million City but when i don't study i life in a village with 50+ people.
You really cant compare them both...
It's like people trying to say which programming language by benchmarks...
yes go is faster then ruby in some stuff but does this only makes go better? nobody can say because it is a matter of problems to solve and taste of the human that will write the code.
just my 2 cents
Big cities are full of noise and distractions.
It is possible to find solitude in a city, though. One has to make a point of it, but it can be done.
Also, don't overlook the #2 habit, per this same essay: participation. The mind does need raw material to chew on, and there's plenty of that in the city.
In the US, New York City/Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn near Manhattan are particularly innovative, again because of the type of inhabitants it attracts. San Francisco, SV, LA, Austin, Seattle, are all innovative in different ways.