This book provides an excellent description of economic problems facing many urban areas. It provide descriptions of how some cities overcame their economic challenges and are now growing economically.
The following are notes for public policy, urban studies, and city planning students:
The 100 most populous metropolitan areas have two thirds the nation's population producing three quarters of our Gross Domestic Product on 12% of the nation's land.
Metropolitan areas have faster population growth, and with an increasingly diverse population as well as a more aging population, than other areas.
The U.S. economy is experience increased exports, critical innovations plus production of resulting inventions as well as seeing decreasing waste.
Cities will grow according to the reactions to their own actions. Unlike the past, the Federal government is not providing massive funding assistance to cities. Further, most state governments, facing their own budget difficulties that limit their ability to help, are not helping cities as they used to.
Cities are improving by upgrading their downtowns and waterfronts, engaging in historic preservation, improving ass transit, and having interesting architecture. There is a new urban drive for enticing advanced industries to locate in their cities. This industries have create stronger infrastructure, hire human capital, and improve areas when their economic innovations create further growth. Economic growth is driving city renewals. Cities are adapting to the the needs of a global economy which demands technological innovations by creating the means to allow these entities to exist and grow.
Cities are taking actions to guide their economic progress by investing in areas that create jobs and wealth. Some find areas that create global network exchanges of goods and services as well as investments, ideas, and labor. These investors seek the large supply of residents that cities provide that lead to economic gains which in turns makes cities socially stronger.
New York City lost 6,000 jobs and $2 billion in city tax revenues during their August 2008 to November 2009 crisis that was focused on their declining financial sector. Another $1.4 billion in city tax revenues was lost the following year. This was a primary cause of the city government laying off 139,000 city government workers, which contributed further to the economic crisis.
A non-profit organization, the New York City Economic Development Corp (NYCEDC) argued that New York could rebound economically with some innovative actions. NYCEDC staff met with 325 CEOs, 25 community group leaders, and university Presidents and Deans. They discovered there was a general agreement that New York'e economic future was in science, technological innovations, exports, sustainable energy, and new energy sources.
It was then determined that New York City was already strong in biotechnological research. It was also observed it lacked engineers. Boston and San Francisco were increasing investments into their engineering schools and on engineering research and development which was successfully attracting engineering students and engineering firms.
The New York Mayor's office created a one year contest to universities to create a new city campus. The city government would provide $100 million in infrastructure and investments. The winner, Cornell and Technican - Israel Institute of Technology were awarded a campus on Roosevelt Island. The school is named Cornell - NYC Tech which should soon have 280 faculty and 2,750 graduate students.
The Mayor's Office also decided there could be more than one contest winner. New York University is creating the Center for Urban Science and Progress in downtown Brooklyn with a $15 million in city funds or abatements. The Center will work with industry partners.
Columbia University responded by enlarging its engineering school. NYU and Brooklyn Polytech merged o increase the applied sciences offerings.
Economic studies found that each high tech job created leads to additional professional and non-professional jobs. Investing in technology fuels job creation and economic growth.
The infrastructure improvements that lure high tech jobs improves the lives of all. This brings in more retail, services, and financial entities taking advantage of improving neighborhoods and increasing population. This, in turn fuels further economic growth.
The U.S. was a majority rural country until urban population rose three times faster than rural population growth from around 1900 until the 1930 Census found half of U.S. residents lived in cities. The U.S. has been majority urban ever since.
Denver voters in 2004 agreed to tax themselves more to use the funds to support their museums, sports stadiums, zoo, and transit systems. Denver had grown by annexing surrounding municipalities. This allowed Denver to capture the "white flight" of people who left or avoided urban areas where more racial minority populations had increased.
Colorado had a reliance on sales taxes for local budgets. Annexation allows the city government to gain revenues from malls and stores that had been outside their borders. Denver had to fight Lakewood and Aurora who began annexing areas that did not wish to be annexed by Denver. In 1973, a state Constitutional amendment passed that made it difficult if not virtually impossible for Denver to annex more areas.
Denver needed a modern airport. A site in Adams County was considered. Denver's Mayor Frederico Pena met with Adams County Commissioners to plan the airport together. Denver offered to pay impact and other fees. The airpot was approved by Denver County voters who reduced their past resistance to Denver's concerns.
Denver in 1983 approved a one tenth of one percent sales tax paid in seven counties for a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. Money went to museums in other cities as well as Denver. In 1989, the region approved another one tenth of one percent sales tax for a major league baseball stadium. In 2004, the region approved a tax for regional rail and bus transit.
Youngstown suffered economically after a 1977 steel mill closed losing 5,000 jobs. More job loss followed. In 1978, Cleveland defaulted on municipal loans. Cleveland lost one fourth of its manufacturing jobs between 1979 and 1983. Over a bill dollars of economic activity left Akron during the 1980s.
Cleveland rebounded in the 1990s by attracting the Rock and roll Hall of Fame and Museum, three sports stadiums, and a new Science Center.
Several foundations raised $30 million for economic development programs in various Northeast Ohio locations. Programs for poor and underserved people were created including education, health, and social programs. Eventually $60 million was donated over a decade. A non-profit involved in technology was among the recipients. Growth was seen in electronics, new energy technology, and water technology. These donations assisted in creating 10,500 jobs and $1.9 billion in revenues.
Northeast Ohio saw alliances formed where economic, social, and cultural connections came together to supports regional growth.
Houston encourage more skilled workers, Community centers provide students help with their studies and other skills so they achieve better at school. These center provide English skills for immigrants which makes them more employable.
THe creation of innovation districts is a component of city growth. Boston, Seattle, and other cities have taken underused areas, often near waterfronts and downtowns and turned them into areas attracting innovative companies, entrepreneurs, researchers, and places where their employees live. They are provided or already have transit access. There are no established duplicable stands on creating innovative districts. Each is unique.
In a global economy, it will be where immigrants settle and international investments are made that will determine which areas get the labor and capital for economic growth. Cities will grow through networking, establishing and working towards a positive vision, and learning what it has or can create that can be a "game changer" that propels actions to sustained economic growth.