Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
My latest post is up over at New Geography. It’s called the “Urban Quality vs. Quantity Dilemma.” In this piece I examine what we might call “high quality” cities ranging from New York to Portland vs. “high quantity” cities like Austin or Atlanta. The data are very interesting. It looks to me like each sort of place has only got half the puzzle figured out.
The dilemma in America is that it seems that to some extent you can have per capita income and GDP growth or you can have population and job growth, but you can’t have both easily.
As an aside, the most interesting stat I found when looking at the data is that Portland, Oregon had the highest per capita GDP growth of any metro over one million in the US from 2001 to 2008, the full range for which data is available. It’s number one. Portland grew GDP per capita by 22.4%. That’s particularly impressive when you consider how many people are unemployed or underemployed there. Clearly, something about the talent program there is working, because they are really ratcheting up their economic output. So my hat’s off to Portland on this one.
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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.