Sadly, 'Conce' was yet another city terribly damaged in the February 2010 earthquake; it was also ravaged by looting and lawlessness during the aftershocks. But unlike some of its central Chilean neighbors, Concepción is very important to Chile's economy – specifically because of its manufacturing industry, port facilities and nearby coal deposits. Chileans consider Concepción a socialist hotbed – mainly because of the intellectual influences of its dozen or so universities.
Concepción sits on the north bank of the Río Biobío, Chile's only significant navigable waterway, about 10km from the river's mouth. Hills block the city's expansion to the south and east, so Concepción's urban sprawl is moving rapidly in the opposite direction, toward Talcahuano, 15km to the northwest.