An economic view – when are places no longer relevant?

On the final stretch here in the US before two different journeys begin into Sweden and Denmark and then onto China.

Today was the ‘big apple’ New York.  A google search brings up 2,390,000,000 results, so I won’t try and compete with everything that has been written.  My main observation from my day in the city was that there is so much vibrancy it is easy to see why many people are attracted to visit and live.  In the global village  every other location in the world is competing against cities like New York and so have to choose to either try and better it or carve out their own niche.

There’s two sides to big cities like New York.

Great urban features like the New York High Line, an old train track several stories high that runs for over 2km and is maintained by a non-profit.

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On the other hand…random adults please stay away from kids warnings

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Oxford Economics

Todays meeting was with Dan from Oxford Economics, who are a global advisory firm.  Dan’s background is in the private and public sectors, so has seen both sides of economic development.

He confirmed my thoughts about the use of incentives, which are widespread throughout the US.  Check out his paper on incentives.

Talent was raised again as an issue, particularly in reference to how often end up in cities and the challenge that smaller locations have to either keep students from secondary school onwards or make it attractive to return.

The most insightful discussion today was Dan’s comment that one of the hardest challenges in economic development is when a locations reason for being no longer exists, often heard by the comment “but we used to be…”.   This links back to the ‘Zombie town’ comments made in NZ last year about closing down some towns (it’s also a worldwide challenge).  This is the first time I’ve heard this view while offshore (probably because the places I’ve visited have been doing great stuff or have developed themselves out of tough times by reinvention)…and it’s hard to disagree.

So it begs the question – should locations that are no longer viable close down?

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2 thoughts on “An economic view – when are places no longer relevant?”

  1. Thanks Will, had a good look at the Friends of the High Line website. A few similarities to BT there. Sounds like your trip is going well, enjoying your writing.

    Enjoy and take care.

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