Retooling for Growth: Building a Twenty-first Century Economy in America's Older Industrial Areas

2007. The American Assembly

From the 2007 Assembly of the same name, this report explores policy strategies for revitalizing older US industrial areas that no longer effectively compete in the global economy.

The report argues that many older metro areas are still struggling to make the transition from an industrial-based economy to a knowledge-based one. Detroit, Milwaukee, Oakland, St. Louis, Baltimore, and scores of other American metropolitan areas suffer from slow employment growth, a diminishing tax base, aging infrastructure, poorly performing schools, falling home values with billions in related subprime losses and concentrated poverty which undermine their ability to build and retain skilled workforces and new growth industries.

The report also describes the under-utilized assets of these communities, including land, infrastructure, and--in many cases--leading medical, educational, and research institutions. It argues that leveraging them will require business and civic cultures to be more entrepreneurial, inclusive, and innovative, and describes strategies for encouraging key actors to take up those strategies.

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