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. Thank you to the scientists who care enough to find a cure. We are so lucky that their intelligence has brought them to these understandings because it is through these understandings that we have new hope. Certainly the medicine will be expensive, these drugs usually are, especially the ones that are not mass produced. If I know anything from the walks that my town has put on for FA it is this: people care and people want to help. Donations and financial support can and will come to those who need it. All we need is a cure, the money will come. I mean, look at what these scientists have done thanks to the generosity of donors. 30 million dollars brings us here where we can talk about a drug's existence! There is so much to be frustrated about in this world, but this scientific break is not one of them. I am so happy for this new found hope. Thank you so much to the scientists who have been slaving away to help my friends with FA. We wish you speedy success in the time to come!

  2. I love tiny neighborhood bars-- when I travel city to city for work, it's my preference to find them. However, too many still having smoking inside. So I'm limited to bars in the cities that have smoking bans. I travel to Kokomo often, and I can promise, I'll be one of those people who visit the ma and pa bars once they're smoke free!

  3. I believe the issue with keystone & 96th was due to running out of funds though there were other factors. I just hope that a similar situation does not befall ST RD 37 where only half of the overhaul gets built.

  4. It's so great to see a country founded on freedom uphold the freedom for all people to work and patronize a public venue without risking their health! People do not go to bars to smoke, they can take it outside.

  5. So, Hurko, mass transit has not proven itself in Indy so we should build incredibly expensive train lines? How would that fix the lack of demand? And as far as those double decker buses to bus people in from suburbs, we can't fill up a regular sized buses now and have had to cancel lines and greatly subsidize others. No need for double decker buses there.