Friday, April 25, 2008

Postindustrial Heartland Redux

CEOs for Cities takes a stab at framing the "debate" between Ed Glaeser and Richard Florida concerning Buffalo's future:

Charity Vogel didn't much like Ed Glaeser's admonition to Buffalo to think small. Instead, she urges Buffalo to follow Richard Florida's advice to think big -- as in, mega-region of Rochester, Toronto and Buffalo. Glaeser was asked specifically about the potential of mega-regions, and he response was, essentially, not much.

Think shrink versus think big? I still fail to see a distinction in terms of policy choices. I'm aware that Florida is fond of dreaming mega-regions, but such a consideration could include what Glaeser is suggesting (invest in people, not place). The two perspectives are not mutually exclusive. I'll stop there before I write something I will regret.

Mega-regions such as the Great Lakes Economic Initiative are impressive, but are they geographically coherent enough to serve as an important policy conduit? Via Null Space, we can journey back in time to glimpse the mega-regions of the past-future (still with me?). Mich.Ohio Fingers looks like greater Cleveburgh to me. But there are only four fingers on this mega-regional hand. Might Buffalo be interested in claiming the missing thumb? Or, is that the middle finger I'm seeing?

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