Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Vagabonds Will Revitalize Detroit

A Korean parable and Saskia Sassen at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Migration and innovation.

Subject Article: "Big Dreams, but Little Consensus, for a New Detroit."

Other Links: 1. "Inbreeding Homophily."
2. "What Makes the Bywater So Hipster?"
3. "The Magic of Cities."
4. "Look to the Gem Within: A Harvard PhD’s Views on Korea’s Potential."
5. "A New Magazine Takes on Old Rust Belt Stereotypes."
6. "How Green Was My Port Clinton."
7. "Unlike Detroit, Chicago’s diversified industrial base has helped it to successfully switch from a material to a knowledge economy."
8. "Talent Retention And Displacement."
9. "Migrant Networks and the Spread of Misinformation."

Postscript: Saskia Sassen's piece deserves a second look. I've heard it said, on many occasions, that Chicago's boon was its economic diversity. I thought that meant other than manufacturing, which didn't make sense because Chicago was more dependent on manufacturing than other Rust Belt cities that didn't globalize. The diversity lauded is within the manufacturing sector. Sassen makes this point clear and notes that Detroit similarly benefits. Then why the divergent paths? A few large firms dominated the economic landscape in Detroit. Whereas smaller independent firms in Chicago handled the specialization. This line of argument strikes me as a stretch. However, Edward Glaeser invoking the ghost of Benjamin Chinitz with a fates comparison of Pittsburgh and New York City says otherwise. "Smaller, non-integrated firms" helped Silicon Valley beat out Boston. But that doesn't preclude my own theory of migration and knowledge networks from explaining things. I'll chalk it up for now to covariance.

1 comment:

The Urbanophile said...

My argument is that in part that Chicago became a services center because the Midwest needed one and it was the traditional capital. I think the global specialized services played a smaller role than advertised. Every region needs a city like Chicago. General trends favored it and the major Rust Belt collapse had mostly happened by the time Chicago started to recover in the 1990s.