Thursday, December 11, 2014

Daily Beast: Rust Belt 'could well be on the verge of a major resurgence'

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 2:52 PM

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In a lengthy article over at The Daily Beast this weekend, writers Joel Kotkin and Richey Piiparinen argued the Rust Belt — and by extension, Detroit — is poised for a revival. 

Two factors drive this change. One is the steady revival of America as a productive manufacturing country, driven in large part by new technology, rising wages abroad (notably in China), and the development of low-cost, abundant domestic energy, much of it now produced in states such as Ohio and in the western reaches of Pennsylvania.

The second, and perhaps more surprising, is the wealth of human capital already existent in the region. After decades of decline, this is now expanding as younger educated workers move to the area in part to escape the soaring cost of living, high taxes, and regulations that now weigh so heavily on the super-star cities. . In fact, more educated workers now leave Manhattan and Brooklyn for places like Cuyahoga County and Erie County, where Cleveland and Buffalo are located, than the other way around.

The writers, as expected, give a nod to Detroit, citing a recent interview with Richard Florida, the guy who said creative people can save a city. 

[Florida said:] “If you want to rebuild a neighborhood, you’re a lot better off starting with stuff people eat and drink.” In other words, cities should develop the microbrewery district, the artisanal culinary scene, etc. to attract the talent; and once the talent clusters, broad economic development will follow.''

Whether or not you buy into the pair's contention, they suggest attention is being given to the Rust Belt due to its "legacy."

Various industrialists long ago financed the universities and hospitals that pepper the region, and it is these centers of knowledge production that are driving the highly-skilled workforce demand. For example, Carnegie Mellon’s robotics and computer engineering programs are creating a two-way pipeline between Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley. Both Google and Apple are broadening their physical footprint in the Steel City, in part because of the cost advantages the rustbelt offers relative to either coast. In Cleveland, the health care service and technology industry is clustering at a fast pace, particularly along the city’s health-tech corridor. 

Check out the entire piece here



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