Executive Summary

Lessons from the Past for Urban Policy in the Era of Trump

The stunning election of Donald Trump as president throws the future of urban policy into doubt. During the campaign he promised to bring new jobs and improved infrastructure to the inner cities, but so far he has furnished no details. Some of the strategies carried out by cities and states in the past may offer the incoming administration some guidance.



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The Curmudgeon's experience has taught him that communities, even in the same state, want different things from economic development. They choose similar policies and programs sometimes and "operate" their economic development programs in rather distinctive ways. Communities have their own way of doing economic development. And that way may have precious little to do with professional norms practices and academic disciplinal models and theories. Meredith Ramsay's second edition of Community, Culture, and Economic Development: Continuity and Change in Two Small Southern Towns demonstrates that political culture exists in the United States. It is a magnificent depiction of how political culture enters into the day-to-day of economic development. There are questions raised by the recognition of culture's importance to successful economic development; these questions are fundamental and potentially disruptive to those of us who draw our paycheck from the sub-state community. Continue Reading...