Category Archives : Millennials


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 […]


Devaluing a four year degree

Worrisome survey results reported by the New York Times. Worth checking out and taking the one question survey. The question: “What do you think the unemployment rate is for 25-to-34-year-olds who graduated from a four-year college? (Hint: for those with only a high school degree, it’s 7.4 percent.)” The Times reports it previously did a […]


Two quotes on student loans

An article entitled “More evidence the sky is not falling due to student loan debt” reviews recent research on the question of whether student loans are depressing home ownership. They don’t! The article includes two quotes that summarize well the reality that a college degree––even with student loans––are a terrific investment. In the article, for […]


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 […]


Urban amenities and talent attraction

Terrific CityLab article entitled The Real Source of American Urban Revival. It documents the trend we have been writing about for nearly a decade that young professionals far more than previous generations are concentrating in central cities not the suburbs. CityLab reports: From 2000 to 2010, more college-educated professionals aged 25 to 34 moved downtown […]


Renters and economic prosperity

A core finding of Michigan Future’s research has been that what made us prosperous in the past, won’t in the future. The big change is that prosperity is now aligned with knowledge-based rather than factory-based economies. Another big change is that renters are now an asset not a liability in a community’s economic well being. […]


The college grad multiplier 1

In a previous post on why retaining and attracting young professional was an economic development priority I wrote: The reason they are important to economic growth is both they are the most mobile and that knowledge workers––professionals and managers––are now, and will increasingly be, the core of the middle class. They will play the same […]


GE to Boston, ConAgra to Chicago 1

For years we have used the following quote from Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, to describe what increasingly drives state and local economic growth: “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. […]