A few weeks ago, Amazon announced major new operations in not one, but three locations: Queens, NYC; Crystal City, near Washington, DC; and Nashville. Our biggest question is not for Amazon but for the cities and states that offered them massive subsidy packages: Why?!
We are in the midst of an ongoing transformation of the traditional top-down, mass producer-to-consumer relationship into a relationship that is more harmonious and intimate between smaller-scale producers and smaller sets of consumers.
Bounce Innovation Hub, a tech incubator in Akron, OH, has not only given new life to the former B.F. Goodrich tire company headquarters. Its CEO hopes that it will be the start of a new wave of manufacturing in Akron.
Across the Rust Belt and Midwest, immigrant entrepreneurs and residents are helping to mitigate the financial challenges faced by declining and shrinking cities.
What does economic development look like in a small town where most of the proposals on the table involve significant infrastructure investment for an uncertain payoff? What’s the alternative?
Using tax incentives to subsidize retail is a lose-lose game that St. Louis's suburbs, desperate for short-term revenue, have been playing for too long. University City is mortgaging its future and selling out its small businesses with a $70 million subsidy for big-box development.
If we want to fix crony capitalism, what we really need is to localize capital.
In an area where the population is growing, one question often vexes neighbors: why is that house or storefront vacant? It just doesn’t seem to make sense. Why do landlords leave properties empty when they could be getting rent?
As technology becomes cheaper and more commonplace, it’s not driving us away from cities. Rather, it’s making the other attributes of place—especially human capital, social interaction and quality of life—more valuable.
What does it take to bring life back to a faded downtown? Contrary to conventional wisdom, big employers may underperform as revitalization engines, and small-bet approaches—improvisational, innovative, and low-risk—can deliver outsize rewards.
Texas has a history of aggressively using tax incentives to lure big business: a misguided economic development approach that produces little if any public benefit. Dallas’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters falls right in line with this unfortunate pattern.
The less you look like everyone else and the more you look like yourself, the better off you’ll be. This truth should be driving your town’s development. In fact, creating a distinctive sense of place is your competitive advantage.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. But if a mega-project doesn’t have the characteristics—massive public debt, heavy infrastructure burdens, dubious if any benefit for the surrounding area—that usually make such projects so odious, is it still a bad deal?
Akron, Ohio’s subsidies for redevelopment of the failed Rolling Acres mall are a textbook case of the sunk cost fallacy: the tendency to examine new opportunities not on their own merit, but in the context of past investments.
Small businesses are crucial to local economic health. Thriving small businesses create thriving communities, in a virtuous cycle.