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A tool for growth that benefits everyone

Metro areas around the nation look to Nashville as a model of economic development done well. Its output grew by nearly 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, transforming its downtown and bringing with it an unprecedented boom in high-wage jobs in the professional-services and health-care industries. Yet over the same period, earnings for the average worker fell by nearly 2 percent -- an even greater decrease than the national average. Half of the region's families still make less than the $50,000 a year required to be self-sufficient. Different versions of this story are playing out in every region, from transitioning industrial centers like Indianapolis to knowledge capitals like San Diego. Bridging these growing gaps by making economic growth more inclusive is the defining economic and social challenge facing cities. Yet despite being the most influential voices and agenda-setters on economic issues in many regions, regional economic development organizations (EDOs) have generally avoided wading into this issue.

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MIT Inclusive Innovation Awards stress optimism

Digital technologies have helped create immense wealth and societal progress, but not everyone has shared in that prosperity.
The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy created the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge to highlight and support businesses and nonprofits that use technology to improve economic opportunities for people with low- and mid-level incomes. The winners of the second annual challenge, who will split more than $1 million in prize money, were announced Thursday evening at an event held at Boston’s City Hall Plaza during the HUBweek festival. Read more.

Small European nation becomes a “living lab” for urban innovation researchers

When you think of innovation hubs around the world, Andorra, a tiny country tucked between Spain and France, may not come to mind. But, for several years, the 180-square-mile nation of 77,000 people has served as a “living lab” for researchers from MIT Media Lab’s City Science Initiative to prototype, deploy, and test urban innovation. Read more.

AOL's Steve Case says 'smart cities' are the next big thing

AOL co-founder and former CEO Steve Case told FOX Business on Wednesday the next big opportunity is in the third wave of the internet. “The third wave is now happening. It’s really integrating the internet in seamless ways throughout health care and energy, food, agriculture, transportation [and] smart cities,” Case told Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.” In his opinion, “we are kind of peak Silicon Valley,” and despite “some tough big brother privacy issues surrounded around cyber terrorism bringing down some of these smart cities,” a more inclusive innovation economy will begin to emerge. Read more.

U of T research looks at link between innovation and economic segregation of U.S. urban areas

A new study co-authored by the University of Toronto’s Ruben Gaetani suggests that innovation is leading to the economic segregation of urban areas in the United States. The study by Gaetani, an assistant professor in the department of management at U of T Mississauga, and Enrico Berkes of Northwestern University, has a baseline finding “as remarkable as it is disturbing,” writes University Professor Richard Florida of U of T in an article for CityLab, the website he co-founded. Read more.


Helping African-American developers rebuild Detroit

A new $5 million program offered by Capital Impact Partners will provide financing and training opportunities for African American real estate developers in Detroit grow their businesses. JPMorgan Chase is investing $500,000 into The Equitable Development Initiative in an effort to increase the number of minority developers in Detroit. The two-year pilot program is part of a larger movement to encourage small, minority-owned business to work on larger products and be successfully while doing it. According to Black Enterprise, the program allows black developers to be a major part of Detroit's economic recovery. Read more.


Two words are missing from the economic development conversation

People were investing in their communities long before government intervened with its own notions of what “good economic development” looks like. Yet today, when we talk about models for strengthening the financial health of U.S. cities, we mostly talk about large infrastructural projects that expand the tax base. We talk about major capital investment, but little about investment in a city’s people. It’s time to change the collective understanding of what we call “economic development.” It’s time to permanently attach the words “inclusive” and “equitable” to the very framework of economic development. Read more.

America's most and least distressed cities

We know there’s a widening geographic economic gap in the United States, most vividly described in the months leading up to the 2016 election as a battle between the “left behind” and the “coastal elites.”Now we have new detail on how that breaks down by locality. One in six Americans are living in ZIP codes that are considered economically “distressed,” according to the Economic Innovation Group’s 2017 Distressed Communities Index. More than 84 million others—one in four—live in communities that are considered prosperous. Read more

Opinion: The global economy is starting to create lose-lose situations

Next month, when finance ministers and central bank governors from more than 180 countries gather in Washington, D.C., for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, they will confront a global economic order under increasing strain. Having failed to deliver the inclusive economic prosperity of which it is capable, that order is subject to growing doubts — and mounting challenges. Barring a course correction, the risks that today’s order will yield to a world economic non-order will only intensify. The current international economic order, spearheaded by the United States and its allies in the wake of World War II, is underpinned by multilateral institutions, including the IMF and the World Bank. Read more.

Black design still matters

The Black in Design conference at Harvard University this past weekend featured presentations from some of the top names in design and social activism, including Hamza WalkerWalter HoodSharon Sutton, and DeRay Mckesson. Not bad for a student-led movement that began less than three years ago.
“We didn't really understand how big this thing would become back when we started planning it back in 2014,” says Cara Michell, an alum of Harvard Graduate School of Design’s African American Student Union, the organization behind the conference. Read more.

Lessons for metro areas from the Inclusive Economic Development Lab

Growth across each of the top 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, the lowest unemployment rate in a decade, a housing recovery, and a booming stock market belie deeper trends that point to narrowing opportunity for both historically marginalized populations and beyond. For six months, Brookings worked with Nashville and two other metro areas—Indianapolis and San Diego—in an experimental process, the Inclusive Economic Development Lab, taking research to ground to help economic development organizations better understand the complexity of these challenges and begin to approach inclusive economic development as a growth and competitiveness imperative. Read more.

The promise of Durham

Like America, Durham has benefited from a long history of successful entrepreneurship while traversing a troubled past that left much of its once-flourishing black population segregated, disconnected and isolated from the most promising economic resources and assets in the region. Like America, Durham suffers today from unresolved issues of a segregated century that, absent intentional intervention, offer little hope of organic resolution. Read More

Researchers are mapping the racist foundations of Minneapolis housing partners

In May, Minneapolis’ park board voted to recommend changing the name of Lake Calhoun, named for the former vice president and staunch defender of slavery, John C. Calhoun, who lacks any strong connections to the state of Minnesota, to Bde Maka Ska, the Dakota name for the body of water. In June, after a campaign by students, the school board voted to rechristen Alexander Ramsey Middle School — its namesake, a former Minnesota governor, had called for the extermination of the Sioux tribe — as Justice Page Middle School, after the first African-American on the Minnesota Supreme Court, Alan Page. Read More

Community-based solutions for individuals with autism

Taking stock of assets is essential, whether in business or within community development, and most certainly in the case of people with different abilities. Too often, we look at our special needs population through the lens of “disability,” focusing on what they can’t do versus what they can. In Greater Phoenix, we’ve been working hard to shift that paradigm by exploring what individuals with special abilities can do and learn, where they can work and live, and how they can contribute a valued dimension to the fabric of society. Read More

National diversity and inclusion campaign places focus on hiring from HBCUs

With the support of over 20 HBCUS including Bethune-Cookman University, Clark Atlanta University, Grambling State University, Lane College and Tougaloo, Jobs R 4 U will visit each campus to host soft skill workshops. Workshop topics include: Networking 101, Being Black in the Workplace, Creating a LinkedIn Profile and How to Interview with a Tech Company. In addition, to the workshops, there will also be an HBCU 20x20 Career & Internship Fair. The first stop on the HBCU 20x20 tour is Philander Smith College in Little Rock, AR in October. Read More 
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