Clusters and Regionalism

Ah yes, clusters and regionalism.

They go together like peas and pods which is so very appropriate because they are almost always green.

America includes central cities, suburbs, rural areas and small towns. We are concerned with each and from time to time will select some great articles or books on these metro and non metro areas. But fear not, we shall also talk about mega cities and the famous and infamous “cluster” approach.

The cluster approach has been around for quite some time. In the olden days it was referred to as “agglomeration economics”, but with the 1986 arrival of Michael Porter it all changed. For awhile clusters were the way to go, but by 2012 clusters may have become akin to a buzz word, a synonym for sector or industry and the actual strategy to enhance clusters can become in practice a close companion to the old chip and smokestack chasing attraction deal-making.

Regionalism is another matter. The implicit goal of regionalism is to capture the economic base and sidestep all those parochial yokels and their barrage of fragmented, place-based municipal and county governments. Despite an uneven and sometimes controversial track record, efforts to regionalize remain common and perennial as spring and flowers.

Clusters and Regionalism. You’ve heard ’em, right?

Articles in 'Clusters and Regionalism'

Questioning Paradigms: Manchester England and the Plight of Legacy Cities

Manchester and other northern UK cities share many of the same problems as our Northeast and Midwest Great Lakes legacy cities–they have lost a great deal of their economic meaning because of changes in logistics and deindustrialization. At the moment their national government has launched a major effort to promote “northern cities” economic development. What can we learn from them?

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Part II: How to Stop Digging the Legacy City Hole Deeper

A few weeks ago we published Part I of  our commentary on the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy report, Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities by Alan Mallach and Lavea Brachman. To refresh the reader, the Lincoln Institute report defines and identifies eighteen “legacy cities” as central cities with a minimum population of 50,000 (2010)  who have suffered more than a twenty […]

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First Step in Revitalizing Legacy Cities: Stop Digging the Hole Deeper (Part I)

It’s no secret in economic development that some American cities are in deep, deep trouble. They are deep into a hole that at times seems bottomless. Detroit made the headlines in recent months, but we all know that many Great Lakes big cities and several older manufacturing centers have very serious issues. The Curmudgeon spent […]

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Detroit: Why Bankruptcy? Why Bankruptcy Now?

Like it or not, the Detroit bankruptcy filing is a page turner. What insights and lessons might an economic developer glean from it? That is our task in this issue. Since July 18th when the City of Detroit filed for the nation’s largest ever (in terms of debt) municipal bankruptcy, the Curmudgeon has been buried under an avalanche of different ideas explaining […]

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Silicon Valley and Route 128: The Camelots of Economic Development

Silicon Valley and the Route 128 Massachusetts Miracle are a bit of reality and myth tossed together like a Caesar salad. In recent years, the Silicon Valley, in particular, has become a Camelot of sorts for economic developers–a place where the mythical king of technology, innovation and creativity ruled over the dominion of the knowledge-based economy. These magical geographies have personified the holy grail of economic development. What are the realities behind these legends? What lessons can we learn?

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The New Geography of Jobs (Enrico Moretti)

Enrico Moretti’s, The New Geography of Jobs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, 2012). has been exceptionally well received by many of the economic development literari. Some commentators have described New Geography as the best economic development book of 2012. And if you don’t read New Geography, you would also miss reading the best, most readable explanation and defense of innovation, knowledge-based economics and their effects on the location of jobs in the United States. There is a lot going on in New Geography. You should read on because what lies below the thematic visible tip of New Geography and innovation economics is its frank and realistic understanding of what innovation economics can do and not do, and, perhaps more important, the linkage of innovation economics with American culture and society.

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The American Dream

WHO STOLE MY LILY WHITE RICH SUBURBS???
Hardly anyone talks about economic development and the suburbs. Why should they-they are all the same: rich, white pillagers of central cities and purveyors of sprawl. In a world composed of mega cities, SMSAs, and multi-county economic regions, does anyone care what is going on in the suburbs? Saint that he is, the Curmudgeon does! In this review, he discusses Bernadette Hanlon’s Once the American Dream: Inner-Ring Suburbs of the Metropolitan United States.

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