Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Economic Corridor Geography

Thanks to Peter Panepento for reinvigorating the Rust Belt Bloggers discussion about launching a mega-regional publication about globalization in the Postindustrial Heartland. One of the issues we are debating is the geographic scope of the beat. The most expansive take would include the GLUE/GLEI construction, which is even more ambitious than the Midwestern collaboratory that Richard Longworth outlines in his book, "Caught in the Middle." Longworth's latest stop on his promotional tour reveals the kind of economic geography I support:

But today, individual states aren't big enough or rich enough to compete on a global scale. A shift in thinking toward a more regional approach is crucial, agrees Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The council has coined the "I-Q Corridor" a 400-mile swath from Chicago to Minneapolis running through Milwaukee and Madison. That region taken as a whole has the economic strength to be a force in a world economy, Still says.

"It may seem like a long way from Chicago to the Twin Cities but it's a shorter drive or flight than what separates San Diego from Silicon Valley," he said.

The I-Q Corridor appeals to my Goldilocks sensibilities: Big enough, but not too big. Cleveburgh, my current blog muse, would seem to be a shadow of the linkages between Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. Imagine a ring around, roughly, Lake Erie and the urban corridors radiating outward (e.g. to Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Ann Arbor). The alpha world city anchoring this mega-region could be Toronto. Whatever the case, the international perspective would be advantageous.

The aim of the publication, if it should ever come to fruition, would be to inform this mega-regional identity and facilitate economic cooperation. We would generate the kind of tacit knowledge that lends itself to transactions of all kinds, including venture capital. That's a sketch of my position and I am planning on fleshing it out for the upcoming Rust Belt Bloggers Summit in Erie this July.

1 comment:

John Morris said...

That seems like an interesting region. I do think there has to be at least one link to an "Alpha city" if the goal is to be connected to the world. If it's a spiky world, you must connect to a spike.

Internationaly connected cities are becoming more and not less important. I think, Jane Jacobs said the South would never develop until it developed great cities.