[Richard] Longworth, now a senior fellow at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, is author of "Caught in the Middle," the most comprehensive look we've seen on the effects of globalization on the Midwest. Longworth said at an Editorial Board meeting this week that he expects to launch the Global Midwest Forum this fall to work on such pressing topics as manufacturing, immigration, water and high-speed rail. [Sarah] Szurpicki and [Abby] Wilson, in town the same day, told us their Web site, which will facilitate information-sharing between residents of Great Lakes urban areas, will be fully operational in June.
Albeit informally, the efforts to revitalize the economy of the Postindustrial Heartland are already connected. In my estimation, John Austin is at the center of this activity. I hope he has enough gravity to bring together all the current energy and excitement in a constructive manner because something special is brewing in the Rust Belt.
I'll continue to promote Pittsburgh and the Cleveburgh economic corridor. I will also champion policies that aim to attract human capital to the mega-region. Come the Rust Belt Bloggers Summit in July, I should know where to focus my own efforts. Regardless, there is a lot going on and now is a good time to get involved.