The Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia Federal Reserve recently discussed their research on older industrial cities, with a particular focus on smaller cities. The research centered on the following questions:

  • What are the key elements or themes that explain why certain cities are doing better than others?
  • What strategies have smaller industrial cities utilized to deal with the decline in manufacturing jobs, demographic changes and economic trends?
  • What has been the role of various sectors (government, private and philanthropic)?
  • How can best practices be transferred from one community to the other?

The research used a variety of quantitative metrics and qualitative methods to examine a set of comparable cities, looking at commonalities among those that might be considered resurgent or transitioning well to a post-industrial economy. 
It was found that the more successful cities shared the following:

  • Leadership from multiple sectors and collaboration across sectors;
  • An active role of higher education in partnering with the city;
  • Long-term strategies and visions for the city's future;
  • Regional cooperation

More information, including presentations on the topic from Fed Reserve researchers, can be found here
https://www.stlouisfed.org/bsr/connectingcommunities/index.cfm?proc=call&act=view&sid=8

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