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Economic Development: Do People or Places Come First?

Aaron Renn writes an argument against economic development investments in the form of stadiums, casinos and convention centers—favored by so many local governments.
March 7, 2016, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"There’s a raging debate about whether the focus of our economic development efforts should be on people or on places," according to an article by Aaron Renn. "That is, should we make investments in people, hoping to see them succeed regardless of where they end up? Or should we focus on investments in particular cities, towns and rural areas in order to bring jobs and growth, thus helping the people who live there?"

Renn recognizes and understands the reasons why local governments display such an expensive predilection for placed-based economic development—but recognizing the incentives for place-based economic development can also be the first step in setting up oversight and controls. A city ready to invest in people will find many opportunities, according to Renn, who cites sewer and wastewater systems as examples of sane investments.

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Published on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in Governing
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