Less rust, more shine ahead for Indy, Midwest?

February 2, 2011
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By now we’re accustomed to the ongoing litany of reasons the Midwest is doomed to perpetual decline: people move to better jobs and more comfortable weather; the region is still a union bastion; the most innovative thinkers prefer the kind of folks they find on the coasts.

Joel Kotkin, an urban development scholar who edits the interesting New Geography website, argues in a recent post that the Midwest may be about as faded as it will get, and indeed might have begun a long-term turnaround.

Kotkin notes unemployment is lower in the Midwest than regions that once boasted some of the hottest economies. Housing is still cheap. Native sons and daughters are returning—not to Detroit, maybe, but to plenty of other livable cities. (Indianapolis comes in for a mention as attracting people from elsewhere in the nation.)

He goes on to point out personal income growth in some cities is outpacing the U.S., and that farm and energy products are on the rise. Even manufacturing might be verging on a recovery.

Moreover, at least in the short term, many of the people who took over leadership of Congress following the November elections hail from the Midwest, not the coasts. So coal and roads and bridges might get more attention than renewable energy and mass transit. (Keep in mind Kotkin has been known to praise suburbs—not a particularly endearing position among his peers.)

If Kotkin is right, this is good news for small companies, which tend to sell closer to home than their larger counterparts and have a more difficult time recruiting from afar.


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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.