Making the Rust Belt Work Again

While Homeland Security builds ever higher fences along the border and the Senators from New York and Illinois compete with promises to destroy trade with their respective states' biggest trading partner, economist and Grist contributor Ryan Avent writes:

So what would I do if I were the midwest? First, I'd work hard to concentrate economic activity in dense downtowns. And second, I'd work hard to develop a high-speed transportation network anchored on Chicago and Toronto....Deep, connected pools of human capital fuel the economy of the northeast, and the midwest has to try to marshal and mobilize its resources by moving them closer together.

Richard Florida picks up the story:

I sure wish policy-makers were listening because Avent's nailed it. Stop tearing out downtown neighborhoods to put up corporate towers, or faux malls or gigantic stadium-convention center complexes. Increase density, improve neighborhoods, focus on internal and external connections. Amen! And I'd add: attract immigrants, retain college students, and become more open-minded.

Wendy Waters concludes:

In some parts of North America, for citizens of certain cities to "pull more than their economic weight" will require better cross-border connections to nearby big cities on the other side of the border. Rail and train travel may be the solution.

Images from ::Detroit Downtown Ruins

Tags: Cities | Trains

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