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Wednesday, July 24, 2013


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The challenge I see is that all policy in most places is geared towards failing regions of states, and therefore the successful ones are starved of both the investment they need to further thrive (and thus pay the state's bills, generate growth, etc) and the legal environment to do so. On the other hand, a place like California seems to go to the other extreme, with state policy that's great for Silicon Valley and Hollywood, but pretty atrocious for everybody else.

Seems to me we have a lot of Detroits, cities with little economic reason for existence. In fact, people are already asking same questions about new cities in China. My 2 cents, renewing cities one of big challenges, 21st century

I understand the need for realism, but that can also slide into fatalism, and I think I'm seeing that here. Granted, as one who grew up in metro Detroit, I know I have my own biases here. That said, there's more than an undercurrent of "things just happen" in this post, and I find that unconvincing because things happen due to choices people and institutions make. We've seen a lot of judgement about the decisions local people and institutions have made in recent days, with a health dose of (sometimes justified) criticism. But there were a lot of other decisions made outside of the city's control that nonetheless had an impact on the city's future. Perhaps some of those decisions can be revisited in some way?

Now, I could be quite wrong here. But other cities have recovered from situations as severe or even moreso than Detroit has. I'd like to think that that was due, in part, to decisions made with the explicit intent of rebuilding those places. I'm not sure we should be so eager to throw dirt on Detroit's grave at this point.

I will always have a place in my heart for Detroit.

Lived there and hung out there in the mid eighties to mid nineties.

Still. In spite of its flaws Detroit is great city. Would leave my red state and move back in a second if I had the chance.

First time poster and I like what you have to say.

I think I found you after your Driftless Area pieces. And I really enjoyed those.

Posted by: Linnaeus

"But other cities have recovered from situations as severe or even moreso than Detroit has."

Yes they have. I offer Pittsburgh as a really god example.

Of the "Rust Belt" cities, Cleveland, Buffalo. Toledo, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Rochester, Syracuse, Gary, Saint Louis, Flint, Parkersburg...

Pittsburgh is the only one that has reinvented itself and is flourishing.

Would r4elocate there without hesitation. A very cool place.

The problem with Detroit is that the state was asleep too long. Detroit reminds me of Camden, New Jersey.
Camden, A City for Others
New York also depends too much one one economy-finance.
This was in fact recently pointed out. It's high taxes are not friendly for small businesses.
By the way in Le Monde there was an article about how french cities will not be like Detroit. The basic difference as pointed out was that the national government is more vigilant. The system described reminded me of what North Carolina has in place. This may be because both constituted of mostly small local governments;both are well aware of the need for fiscal prudence.

About 10 years ago a Michigan civic org recommended that the state implement a monitoring system and praised the North Carolina system. Even CFR has posted an entry about how the North Carolina approach is better as it is more proactive.
Policy Initiative Spotlight: Nort h Carolina’s Local Governmen t Commission
Japan has recently also taken a similar monitoring approach.

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