We conclude our podcast greatest-hits series by revisiting a 2013 conversation with Chris Gibbons, the originator of Economic Gardening. Helping home-grown companies expand—rather than importing jobs from elsewhere—Economic Gardening is the essence of a Strong Towns approach to economic development.
We, as a culture, have become so fixated on growing jobs in our communities that we can’t see anything else. It is up to us to recognize that our cities and metro areas can ask for better.
In a “sort-by-price” world, you should be careful getting into a race to the bottom. This applies as much to cities as businesses.
Amazon has pulled out of the deal with New York City. It’s unlikely subsidies are going away, so what can other cities learn so they don’t repeat mistakes?
When a new brewpub, restaurant, or entertainment venue opens in your town, is this a sign of growth, or merely a shift in where patrons spend their dollars? And what does that imply about cities that subsidize such things?
Can a humble corner bookstore make your city wealthier and more resilient? These small businesses have surprising staying power—and in many ways are an indicator species of a strong neighborhood.
Tulsa, OK is the latest city to offer remote workers some tempting incentives if they’ll move there for only a year. Is this a smarter approach to economic development, or do our cities need to #dothemath?
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?