Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Lessons from resurgent (smaller, industrial) cities

Most of the presentations I've heard from the ICIC conference don't seem all that interesting. One of the commenters, Roland Martel of Illinois Tool Works, as a sum up said that nothing new has been said. It's not that they aren't interesting, but it's stuff I've known for awhile, even though the presenters are good, etc.

-- ICIC Urban 2.0 Agenda

But something that is interesting is a set of presentations by people from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The Boston Fed has been working on a program for awhile, to identify the characteristics of smaller industrially-oriented cities that aren't on the ropes.

-- Lessons from Resurgent Cities

The point that the FRBC keeps mentioning is that the level of educational attainment is key to the success of communities, as much as 58% of overall economic success.

I will mention a point that Mr. Martel said, that I think about a lot whenever someone writes a blog entry in GGW about the need for more unskilled jobs being held by long term unemployed DC residents. "Unskilled" jobs require plenty of skills, plus worker readiness and behavior and attitudes congruent with working. A job waiting tables might not require a college education, but to be successful, it requires a great deal of organizational skill and the ability to interact with a wide variety of people--if you're not successful at this, you won't get tipped--listening skills, creative problem solving, etc.

The big thing in this conference is clustering:

-- Cluster (Agglomeration) resources

And retaining industrial zoned lands for industrial uses (eat your heart out Stephen Smith, see "Cities, Zoning, and Industry" in Forbes).

-- Industrial Land: Reports from Cities and Regions throughout the US and Canada

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