Once again, international economic development is ahead of the curve. From the World Bank:
Through concrete policy actions in family planning, health, education, gender equality, and labor market policies, a number of countries have produced large and positive economic returns, referred to as the "Demographic Dividend." Most developing countries have a short window of opportunity to enact policies and promote investments that raise the human capital of young people while positioning them for greater economic productivity when they enter their working years. Demography need not be destiny, but failure of leadership to manage demographic change will guarantee lags in economic growth and increase the risk of social and political turbulence.
People develop, not places. The Rust Belt must turn away from real estate interests and embrace the investment in talent. A casino or a new convention center is not the answer. A place well-known for developing people will attract talent. Placemaking and dangling amenities will not. How does light rail raise human capital?
Light rail can raise human capital. But that's not the goal of such mammoth projects that cost hundreds of millions, sometimes billions. I keep reading how light rail will stop brain drain. That claim is a red flag. It's along the lines of better walkability will raise property values. It may be true, but so what? Why is raising property values an economic development goal? Better schools also raise property values, walkability be damned.