As economist Edward L. Glaeser writes, Seattle and Detroit were very much the same, but also very different.
"As Boeing scaled back its Seattle employment, the city floundered. By 1971, a much-discussed billboard read "Would the last person to leave Seattle please turn out the lights?"
But there was a crucial difference between Seattle and Detroit. Unlike Ford and General Motors, Boeing employed highly educated workers. Almost since its inception, Seattle has been committed to education and has benefited from the University of Washington, which is based there. Skills are the source of Seattle's strength.
Over the last three decades, human capital has become increasingly linked with urban growth outside the Sun Belt."