What square kilometer of Earth (tapering all the way to the core and extending to the edge of the atmosphere) would be the most valuable?

The title pretty much says it all.

Extending all the way into space? I’d say that any plot of land on the Equator would be valuable beyond measure – if, that is, the government that managed it could get away with charging rent for their space-space. I suppose if space elevators ever become a thing, land in parts of Ecuador and Peru is suddenly going to become more valuable than central London.

Otherwise, I’m going to suggest a) wherever platinum is mined, or b) whever lithium is mined (batteries).

There are different kinds of “valuable”. There might be, somewhere, an area with more geologic information than anywhere else.

Lots and lots of variables here, but I’m going to answer it assuming it’s “most valuable right at this moment.” So I’ll ignore potential future value.

The British royal art collection (including the crown jewels) is estimated to be worth around 10 billion dollars. That’s a pretty good start and doesn’t begin to get into the value of everything else in our square kilometer.

On the other hand, the total estimated value of Manhattan’s developable land was estimated around two trillion dollars in 2014. A square kilometer of that is probably worth quite a bit more than 10 billion and that doesn’t include all the office chairs and parking meter quarters I’d get in the deal.

I think Mr. Bravo has the right of it. The raw materials to be found extending down into the crust is one thing, but this is really a real estate question and real estate is all about location, location, location.

My suggestion: Masjid al-Haram, the great mosque of Mecca. Holiest site for 1.8 billion people, it only takes up about a third of your square kilometer, and the building itself valued at 100 billion dollars.

Fort Knox’s gold has a market value of close to 300 billion dollars, so that’s a pretty okay building as well.

There’s supposed to be more gold in the vault below the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

I would guess the square meter surrounding either the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Louvre.

Well, yeah, but trying to do anything with it would most likely get you killed.

I’d go for the chunk with the most species diversity, myself. Which is (I hope) not marketable either.

I wonder if it would be more valuable to have something like the manufacturing plant Boeing makes planes in? While not $300 billion in one go it will provide continuing returns for decades which could add up to be more valuable.

Or maybe billionaire’s row in New York.

Depending on how we’re valuing this property it might just be “whatever square kilometer Jeff Bezos is currently standing in” since from one point of view wherever he is is worth $148.1 billion more than wherever he isn’t. Maybe we can time it right and snag a square kilometer containing a few of the richest men on Earth and then we’ll really be getting somewhere.

Vatican City is only .44 km/sq. What do I win?

The Holy See? Under 1 km², just 49 hectares, or 121 acres, its art colection might rival the Louvre, its archives are full of treasures, has its own bank, the wine cellars must be sacramental and the spirit’s holy. The food is good too, I am told. That must be worth something. The inhabitants may be a bit weird, but they have no children, so they will eventually die out, I reckon, a problem that solves itself.
ETA: Darn! Ninja’d by a minute!

Which also gets you a good chunk of the rest of Manhattan.

On the other hand, are we talking net market value at current rates, or realizable market value? Any one of these slices is going to include about 10^19 kg of the Earth’s core, which at the current price of iron of about 10 cents per kilogram would amount to 10^18 dollars, a billion times a billion. But of course, if anyone ever somehow had that much iron available to sell, the price would plummet to effectively zero, because there’s only so much iron anyone needs.

Not a bad plot of real estate, either.

Eta: ninja’d by @Chronos by mere minutes!

I wouldn’t pick a section that has factories on it, as those can be located anywhere. What I’d be looking at is an area that has wealth intrinsic to the location.

What’s the Hoover dam worth? Or the The Gorges Dam in China? Or the Itaipú Dam in Brazil? Those might be good bets. The last two at least produced approximately 100 TWh in their peak years. Hoover Dam is significantly smaller.

The Hoover Dam can produce enough power to earn about $165 million in power sales per yeat at a wholesale 1.9 cents/kWh. The other ones are in the billions.

Do you mean a square that’s a kilometer on a side, or an arbitrary region with an area of a square kilometer?

Wbhy does everyone pick Hoover Dam as the big one in the US? It’s pretty, but if you want power output, Grand Coulee is way better.

Boeing’s market cap is $85B. Their most important factory, I would guess, is worth ~$1B. Maybe less, certainly not tens of billions.

Davos, Graubunden, Switzerland. Value varies considerably over the course of the year, but during the annual World Economic Forum, tycoons congregate there.