Monday, September 13, 2010

The End of Smart Growth in Ohio?

One colleague e-mailed me recently.  He knows my thinking that so-called "Smart Growth" in Ohio is neither smart nor growth.

"I would be surprised if we hear much about Smart Growth in 2011," he wrote.

He's one of the few people in the economic development world in Ohio that really get it.  Too many have seen smart growth advocacy as espousing good goals.  Labels like green jobs, "fix it first" infrastructure, and more efficient schools are surely smart-sounding strategies after all.

However, some, like my friend, realize that Ohio's version has really been a wolf in sheep's clothing.  Smart Growth folks have opposed growth in highway capacity and sought to restrict state incentives to places manufacturers can't go.  It's as if their focus is on getting cities a bigger piece of the pie instead of growing the pie for everyone to get a bigger piece.

It's time for Ohio to embrace manufacturing, invest in skills training, keep building new infrastructure to prepare for growth, and put out the welcome mat for homesick Ohioans to return. 

Smart growth is a wrong-headed approach for Ohio.

Will the electons of 2010 bring the demise of Smart Growth?

Here's hoping my friend is right.

1 comment:

  1. I know this post was from months ago, but a belated but sincere THANK YOU!

    It is about time someone in government takes on Greater Ohio and Gene Krebs and exposes them for what they are - lobbyists for urban interests. Returning power and taxes to cities in the guise of protecting the environment and preserving farmlands.

    There is nothing "smart" about what they propose - the expression itself is one of condescension. As if any other type of growth is not smart.

    The danger is that the press, and some legislators, take this group and Brookings as impartial observers.

    Watch for all the talk to resurface again, as Bob Evans and American Greetings leave old HQs for new areas. The SG advocates will lament why they don't relocate to the old downtowns. These employers know their employee base, and go where they can attract the workforce.

    They don't have the luxury of academic postulating about the "hip urban centers' that are supposed to regenerate Ohio!