The role of the medical industry and higher education in stimulating development, and boosting employment, is the focus of reporting by Urban Land Magazine's Mike Sheridan. As America moves from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge economy, medical facilities and universities are leading the diversification of metropolitan economies across the country.
"Among the 100 largest cities in the country, two-thirds have medical facilities and universities as major employers, [Tom Murphy, ULI senior resident fellow, and former mayor of Pittsburgh] notes. 'Over the last 20 years, we've watched a real turnaround in cities that historically were manufacturing based, and over the years it's all changed,' he says. 'Medicine and education have become economic generators in cities including Baltimore, Boston, and a number of others. It speaks [volumes] about the loss of manufacturing jobs and also about the increasing impact of medical facilities, which are not only providing care and education, but also becoming major research centers with a major economic impact.'"
In post-recession Florida, Orlando is looking to Lake Nona Medical City to provide jobs and economic development. With partners such as the University of Florida, Nemours pediatric health care system, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Lake Nona's Medical City campus is expected to provide thousands of new jobs and generate billions of dollars in construction spending.
Understanding the growing importance of such facilities, cities across America are offering lucrative incentives and building infrastructure to lure colleges and medical cluster anchors. "Communities-and developers-seeking to attract medical clusters should be patient and listen to others who have been through the process, says [Larry Pelton, president of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County]. 'They should build infrastructure that is attractive to scientists and to the institutes, including housing, education, and recreation facilities, a vibrant vendor/supplier network, and a leadership team that is 100 percent committed to success,' he advises."
Thanks to Andrew Gorden