Regional Approach Lauded as Key Stretegy for Economic Development

The greater Toledo area needs to think harder about creating regional development if it wants to compete in the globalizing economy, according to this editorial.

"I want to know why some areas are making sustained economic progress, adding good jobs, attracting companies and drawing outside investment. Likewise, I also want to understand the obstacles that some cities face that keep them from enjoying similar success. The picture is increasingly clear."

"In an effort to answer these questions I've turned to some of the leading authorities on economic development. I've had opportunities to talk directly with several of them and to ask questions about what distinguishes successful metropolitan areas from the unsuccessful. I've read their books and papers and studied their research. They all have a lot to say. Many of them have different views and approaches. Some focus on 'talent,' while others focus on 'infrastructure,' 'incentives,' or 'community amenities.' However, one thing on which all agree and the theme stands out among all others in this complex field of economic development: A regional approach is needed."

"The strength and value of a regional approach to economic development has long been recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). The 2007 EDA Symposia highlighted the fact that we are in a 'global economy' and that to successfully compete in this new environment, certain elements are 'required.' Topping their list is 'a regional approach.' Literally scores of case studies, comparative growth statistics, and the experience of professionals in economic development provide strong support for EDA's position on the value and effectiveness of a regional approach."

Full Story: Another look at regional development



Michael Lewyn's picture

regionalism is overrated

There are certainly fast-growing regions with lots of regional coordination- for example, in Jacksonville and Charlotte, cities have essentially merged with their counties, so a large proportion of the metro area is within city limits (thus ensuring that the region has fewer governments).

But there are counter-examples as well: equally fast-growing metro Atlanta is split between half a dozen or more counties and dozens of cities.

Other things being equal, does a strong regional government promote economic growth? Probably.

But is it enough to make the difference between a declining Toledo and a booming Atlanta? Probably not.

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