Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Stuck in the 90’s

My latest post is online at New Geography. It’s called “Stuck in the 90’s” and extends some of the ideas I’ve written about here regarding economic changes over the last couple decades. The 1990’s really were a great decade for job growth in America’s tier one cities. The 2000’s were a different story entirely. These places would be well served to start focusing as much on the basics of job creation as they do on glamour projects.

Topics: Demographic Analysis, Economic Development

5 Responses to “Stuck in the 90’s”

  1. Patrick says:

    Stuck in the 90’s is one of the best songs by Canadian band Moxy Fruvous. Not sure the very literal video works as well as the song, but enjoy.

  2. aim says:

    I have to say I walked away from this article a bit let down. You’ve identified the problem (lack of job creation) and the pitfall of urban advocates ignoring that as fundamental key to successful cities. But where’s some proposed solutions or ideas about how to move job creation to the front and center of urban development? Part 2 perhaps?

  3. Well, I can’t do it all in one article! It’s definitely something that requires a lot of thought. Look back at my post on Chicago’s structural advantages for some of the suggestions I made for that city.

  4. Alon Levy says:

    Aaron, in the 2000s job creation sucked nationwide, so you shouldn’t blame poor urban planning for it.

  5. aim says:

    I realize that the limitation on the length of the article may have been driven by the venue. But I’m used to your lengthy posts here so perhaps my expectations were a bit higher than to the average reader at New Geography. I think that article would be fine if it was presented as an introduction to a series of articles that first identifies the fundamental issues/problems (as you did in your article) and continues with more generalized proposals for solutions and then moves into more detailed analysis of what works and what doesn’t using example cities. I had read the Chicago article and I think it did a good job of identifying some ways forward. But how about looking at cities that you consider “success stories” and unpacking the ways that they have been successful so that others can better understand how successful cities got that way and what lessons can be learned from their experiences.

    I don’t intend for this to be a criticism of your article. It’s just that there seems to be a million people who write articles identifying the problem of the day. Yet few of them ever offer up ideas or suggestions on how those problems can be address. I enjoy the people who offer up solutions. Even when I don’t agree with the proposals, it’s something to think about. In contrast, the whole “look at the problem I’ve identified” form of articles that seems so common doesn’t do much for me.

The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

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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.

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