Five cities that will rise in the New Economy
From Seattle to Huntsville, Ala., five cities are poised to prosper in the New Economy because of exports, innovation, clean technology, and healthcare.
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Nor is logging more orders abroad the only advantage. Some companies in Europe are finding the euro so strong compared with the dollar that it makes more sense for them to set up plants in the US rather than ferry their goods here. Thus a French manufacturing giant, Alstom, is opening a turbine plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., where it will employ 360 people. It will ship its machinery, destined for nuclear plants, by a method as old as Huck Finn – down the Tennessee River by barge.Skip to next paragraph
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According to a Brookings Institution analysis, other inland cities are boosting their trade with foreign nations as well – including Augusta, Ga.; Wichita, Kan.; and Rochester, N.Y.; especially with the fast-growing BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).
In the approaching “creativity economy,” as some are calling it, education will be more vital than ever. This means not just an educated workforce but universities that are interwoven with their communities.
The ivory tower is no longer the model. Now it’s being replaced with universities that turn out corporate spinoffs as well as graduates. Cities such as Huntsville, Ala., – which has a greater concentration of PhDs than it does Baptist churches – are becoming factories for the most important product of tomorrow: ideas.
In other areas, healthcare complexes are evolving into microeconomies in themselves. They attract labs and researchers. Patients fly in from around the world, needing hotel rooms, and laundry and banking services. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center annually pays out $2.7 billion in salaries to its 50,000 employees – the equivalent of the entire Canadian aerospace industry.
Every city, meanwhile, is pining to become the next clean-technology hub. Makers of solar panels, battery-powered cars, and green building materials are to the 2000s what biotech firms were to the 1980s. Certainly, not every city will succeed in becoming the next “Solarcon Valley.” But urban areas both large and small are occupying territory in the green revolution – Vandergrift, Pa., as a fabricator of energy-efficient windows; Toledo, Ohio, as a seat of solar energy; San Diego as a hub of biofuels.