Friday, March 26th, 2010
1. Gateway Streets: The economic impact of highway removal is zero – closure of I-64 for two years in St. Louis for reconstruction had no adverse economic impact.
2. Cleveland Magazine: Tear It Down – “Cleveland won’t be reborn until it buries its dead.”
3. LEO Weekly: Off the cliff and into the water – more coverage of Louisville’s impending bridge debacle.
4. LA Times: New York has the edge in learning to share the road – a profile of Janette Sadik-Khan’s trip to LA.
The Civic Deterioration Model
Ed Morrison at Brewed Fresh Daily posted this graphic of civic decline:
I think this illustrates again that growth, and especially decline, are positive reinforcement cycles. This makes breaking out of decline difficult.
The Jobless Decade
TNR/Brookings had an interesting post on the uneveness of job performance the so-called “lost decade” of the 2000’s. Here’s their map of how various cities fared:
I pulled job stats for Midwest cities from Q1-2001 to Q1-2009 (the max YoY range the BLS had an easy download form for), and here is where my cities stacked up in job creation. Ranked by percentage change with absolute change also shown.
- Indianapolis: 2.12%; 17,091 net jobs
- Kansas City: (0.51%); (4,905)
- Columbus: (1.33%); (11,757)
- Minneapolis-St. Paul: (2.21%); (37,396)
- Cincinnati: (2.49%); (24,431)
- Louisville: (2.51%); (14,524)
- Pittsburgh: (2.65%); (28,906)
- St. Louis: (3.71%); (48,054)
- Chicago: (4.43%); (190,582)
- Milwaukee: (5.79%); (48,115)
- Cleveland: (10.06%); (108,661)
- Detroit: (18.71%); (382,832)
The quantity of job losses in Detroit is simply staggering.
Green Cities Index
American City Business Journals did a study of which cities were the most green in areas where they had publications plus select others. Portland was #1, unsurprisingly. Here’s where other Midwest cities stacked up. Click through to find your city.
- #8 – Pittsburgh
- #11 – Minneapolis-St. Paul
- #14 – Milwaukee
- #16 – Kansas City
- #22 – Columbus
- #24 – Cincinnati
- #31 – Cleveland
- #33 – Indianapolis
- #35 – Louisville
- #40 – St. Louis
Again, this is not a comprehensive list of all US cities, so YMMV.
Next American City Profiles Bruce Katz
Next American City just did a flattering cover story on Bruce Katz, head of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. I’d like to see some of Bruce’s writings before his editor cuts out all the salty language.
Bruce was also featured on an NAC podcast you can listen to below. (Click through the above link if the player doesn’t display for you).
A Trifecta on Immigration
Here are three recent pieces on the importance of immigration to renewing America’s struggling cities:
Joel Kotkin says that immigrants are key to the economy’s recovery.
Richard Herman wants to know if a dying Cleveland will finally turn to immigrants.
Detroit News columnist Laura Berman says the strategy for Detroit should be lure immigrants.
World and National Roundup
CEO’s for Cities: What makes a city entrepreneurial? – Coverage of the Glaeser/Kerr entrepreneurship study
NYT: Toxic Waters – saving US water and sewer systems would be costly.
The Oregonian: Portland in New York: Outposts of Precious
The Case for Cleveland
Some of you may have seen the video series making the rounds called “Reason Saves Cleveland”, put out by the libertarian Reason Foundation. The difficulty with Reason is not whether one agrees or disagrees with their position, but rather that it is so predictable that it isn’t necessary to pay attention to anything they say to know what they think on virtually any conceivable topic.
However, I did want to share their final installment called bring back the people, which features many Clevelanders talking about the things that make their city great, especially through the middle of the piece. I consider it the best “case for Cleveland” that I’ve ever seen. (If the video doesn’t display, click the link above).
Too big to fail? – no clear way to rescue Gary (Post-Tribune)
Bury this big mistake (Art Voice)
Wind energy stirs up bad feeling, health concerns (Tribune) – Includes a video of shadow flicker. Whatever the merits of the case, that shadow flicker is legitimately obnoxious.
Support network seeks to grow biotech companies (NYT)
Chicago retails sales have biggest drop since 1985 (Crain’s)
Chamber exec blasts Delta over job cuts (Business Courier)
Urban Land Institute Launches City 2050 Initiative (Columbus Underground)
Telling Our Story (TIME)
Shrinking Detroit back to greatness (Ed Glaeser @ NYT)
Downsizing Detroit (TIME)
Is urban farming Detroit’s cash cow? (Free Press)
Foundations take action for Detroit (Detroit News)
City, NCAA forge 30-year pact (IBJ)
Angel capital network cancels meeting for lack of deals (IBJ) – I’ve said it before: the problem in the Midwest is not fundamentally a lack of capital, but a lack of deals and lack of entrepreneurs.
City ready to tout its quality of life online (Indy Star)
Differing views on downtown development (WFPL) – The first segment is worth listening to.
Groups opposing tolls on Ohio River bridges starting to form (C-J)
Benchmarking the region’s pursuit of innovation (Milwaukee Talkie)
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Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.