Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Buffalo as Rust Belt Poster Child

Anthony Armstrong, guest posting over at the GLUE blog, asks the urban network of young adults to consider Edward Glaeser's admonishment of Buffalo's (local, state, and federal) economic policies:

Nevertheless, I encourage you to read this article. Why? Members of the GLUE network will see pretty clearly that Buffalo herein serves merely as a trope for any Great Lakes (f/k/a Rust Belt) city. So how would you respond (in a productive way) if this article had been about your city instead, and if you had been asked to represent the ‘younger leader’ contingent here in a public forum? I have. Please post your thoughts here or get in contact with me to discuss.

While I would agree that all GLUE cities have suffered from having their "water-based advantages eroded," I don't think Glaeser's somewhat dire assessment of Buffalo applies ubiquitously. Leveling the same charges at Pittsburgh would reveal many of the top-down follies that Glaeser contends hasn't and won't work in Buffalo. However, there also exist the very same investments in human capital that Glaeser celebrates in the cases of NYC, Boston, and Minneapolis.

I'm on board with Glaeser's recommendations. But how should shrinking cities go about developing the necessary human capital? That's what I would ask Glaeser if I was attending the public forum in Buffalo.

1 comment:

John Morris said...

I don't think it's accurate or healthy to group all regional cities in with Buffalo. Only Erie, Cleveland and a few others compare in any way in terms of weather and geographic isolation (and a lot of that isolation is caused by weather). Milwaukee is now almost a suburb of Chicago.

Of course a lot of this isolation is more of a man made problem caused by poor transport and communications links.