Category Archives : Michigan Cities

Ideas to Revitalize Michigan Cities


California and Kansas updated

The Washington Post in an article entitled The interesting thing that happened when Kansas cut taxes and California hiked them provides an update on the economic fortune of the two states. Its a topic we covered previously in a post entitled California growing, Kansas not so much: A year and a half later, same results. As the […]


Chicago and California

I’m sure some of you are asking “what do Chicago and California have in common?” The answer is conventional wisdom writing them off. As we explored in a series of posts in 2009 California then was widely viewed as in permanent decline. Largely because of a dysfunctional state government and not being business friendly. High […]


Talent rich cities winning

A core finding of Michigan Future’s research has been that the most prosperous places are now those with the highest proportion of adults with a four year degree. Because globalization and technology are driving us away from a factory-based to a knowledge-based economy. Knowledge-based services are almost exclusively the only sector of the economy to […]


Wrong track Michigan policy

Two must-read columns. One entitled Distractions turn dysfunction for Snyder, GOP is written by Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist. Writing about Michigan’s horrible k-12 student outcomes he writes: It’s embarrassing. It’s also a harsh indictment of the recurring public-policy fights between retrograde union interests, the education establishment and a Republican agenda determined to purge […]


Cities and schools again

Following up on my last post about the importance of quality schools and local governments I thought it worthwhile to rerun a post I wrote nearly two years ago. Its as relevant to Michigan’s future success today as it was then. I wrote: “Included in my standard presentation is this quote from Harvard economist Edward […]


Alarm bell reports

Two new reports should be setting off alarm bells among Michigan’s leaders, both political and business. One comes from Ed Trust Midwest entitled Michigan Achieves! More accurately, it would be Michigan doesn’t achieve. The report details Michigan’s status as a national laggard in student achievement and going in the wrong direction fast. All Michigan students, […]


Placemaking agenda: municipal finance

For more than a decade we have argued that the strategy for producing better economic outcomes that Michigan has adopted is not smart. Basically lower taxes and smaller government as the recipe for economic growth. As lower taxes produced less state revenue that meant big cuts in higher education and support for local government. And […]


A placemaking policy agenda

More than a decade of research on the changing American economy has led us to conclude that, quite simply, in a flattening world where work can increasingly be done anyplace by anybody, the places with the greatest concentrations of talent win. The new path to prosperity is concentrated talent. Human capital is what attracts business […]


Development-oriented light rail

Years ago I heard a presentation by folks who were involved in the development of the Portland Oregon streetcar system. They described it as development-oriented transit, not transit-oriented development. They wanted to emphasize that the main purpose was central city economic development, not moving people. (You can check out the staggering magnitude of new development […]


People as the most important natural resource

One of our favorite quotes for years comes from Forbes publisher Rick Karlgaard: “Best place to make a future Forbes 400 fortune? Start with this proposition: The most valuable natural resource in the 21st century is brains. Smart people tend to be mobile. Watch where they go! Because where they go, robust economic activity will […]