Friday, May 25, 2012

Cities vs. Surburbs Summation

I wrote several times about cities and suburbs in the past few weeks.  It may seem like I'm attacking cities or some such thing. 

The truth is just the opposite. 

I'm boosting suburbs it's what I'm doing.  I'm shining a light on suburban and rural development.

For clarity, let me make two points clear.

Point 1: Arrogance about density is a recipe for complacency.  When a larger, urban, more densely-populated community thinks it has an edge over another based solely on its density, it's setting itself up for failure.   When I read an article that manipulates facts to give the idea that the nation's 100 largest cities are bringing a resurgence in manufacturing, I have to scoff.

That statement is a wake up call not only for Ohio's big cities but also for communities like mine in Licking County.  We shouldn't think we are superior to a rural community because of how many people we have in our geopolitical boundaries.  When we think that, we could become complacent too.  That's why I wrote about Derwent, Ohio.

Point 2:  Public policy favoring cities over suburbs is a recipe for decline. When 94%+ of manufacturing private investment comes from outside of our largest cities and tax revenues are generated at a similar pace, isn't it obvious that robbing suburbs to support cities is wrong-headed?  That point is strengthened with the piece on where manufacturing goes in Ohio.

There were major, national news-generating stories in Columbus and Cincinnati in the past few weeks that attempted to push an us vs. them approach.  The debate seemed focused on pushing new public policy initiatives aimed at boosting urban areas and "gaining an edge" as one headline said over suburbs.

We have to grow the pie so everyone gets a bigger piece instead of trying to cut out the places that have the best opportunity to grow the economy of our state.

Yes, cities still have the political clout.  However, they use it to cut out a bigger piece of the pie instead of growing the pie at their own peril.  Ohio's too.

Thanks for reading.

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