Saturday, June 9, 2007

If You Network It, They Will Come

This Brookings report speaks to this author's Rustbelt roots. What are the key differences between America's thriving urban centers and cities that were once major industrial centers? Brookings suggests that an economic focus (read: get on the globalization bandwagon) will help revitalize former industry heavy cities.

The lesson is that in order for these cities to once again achieve economic prosperity, they have to connect to the wider globalization economic trends.

“A dynamic economic moment is also now underway, a result of a fundamental restructuring of the global economy:

• Globalization has accelerated the shift of our economy from the production of commodities, to the design, marketing, and delivery of goods, services, and ideas. Services employment grew by 214 percent from 1970 to 2000 as manufacturing declined, and now represents 32 percent of all jobs in the country.

• The shift to a knowledge and innovation economy demands greater numbers of highly educated, highly skilled workers—now the single biggest driver of economic growth across metropolitan areas.

• The role and function of universities, colleges, medical research institutions, and other institutions of higher learning in economic development and community revitalization is growing and changing.

• The growth of the knowledge economy is altering the value and function of density and proximity, which is widely held to help accelerate the transfer of knowledge and ideas between people and firms.

While globalization and technological change have undoubtedly contributed to the decline of those cities reliant on “old economy” industries, moving forward, they also have the potential to give them back their competitive edge.”


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