Like other cities built largely around a single industry, Reno has struggled to regain its footing during the United States' shaky recovery. As gambling-based tourism declined during the recession, so have Reno's fortunes. Many, like Bret Simmons of the University of Nevada, Reno, see gambling as unsustainable. "Those days are gone," he states. "Gaming is not the industry that's going to take us to the future." Now, as Micheline Maynard of the The Atlantic Cities writes, the "biggest little city in the world" is looking to change its debauched image to realign itself along more 'livable' principles.
With an unemployment rate of nearly 12%, Reno has began to embrace new sectors of the economy, ones that cater to both the many residents of Reno as well as the continuing flow of tourists to the Lake Tahoe region, in hopes of stimulating new economic growth. One such sector is that of the restaurant and entertainment trade, with the development of restaurants and bars showcasing local flavors and culture.
Additionally, like many other cities, Reno has also chosen to focus increasing attention on its university. Universities not only bring more people, and their money, into a community, but, more importantly, can also generate the high-quality research and technology-based jobs sought after by most cities.
Perhaps Reno resident and local chef Mark Estee speaks of the city's new vision best, stating, "It's a partnership of the whole city coming together. We want people to understand that Reno is more than just gaming."