Working together to achieve a common vision for change is a key requirement for urban economic regeneration, argues a new report based on research in 4 US cities.
The report is published by the UK-based Centre for Local Economic Strategies. The research looked at Cleveland, Pittsburg, Philadelphia and Providence, all cities that have faced major economic challenges over the past 20 years. A key lesson is the need for an independent broker who can coordinate a range of committed stakeholders, an “anchor institution”.
The report also points to the strong role played in the USA by philanthropic capital in investing in economic and community development projects. Cities in other countries need to find ways to harness the wealth of institutions that are based in their locality. Of course local government has a role to play, but businesses need to start seeing themselves as citizens.
A key message is that places can shape markets, by stimulating entrepreneurship and product innovation. However, economic growth alone is never enough: inequality also needs to be tackled,and the social sector needs to be part of the economic strategy.