Karen Chapple and Laura Schmahmann
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated three trends that were already transforming economic development theory and practice. A backlash to economic restructuring and inequality, driven by globalization and technology, is now manifesting in reshoring and union movements. The resurgence of small and midsized cities, originally driven by increasing housing costs in coastal cities, has been reinforced by a rise in remote work. The uncertainty of today's complex economy is exacerbating long-term challenges of tracking economic change, making “shoot anything that flies” more important than ever. These trends highlight the need to focus economic development on building and supporting the workforce.
Laura Schmahmann, Ate Poorthuis and Karen Chapple
The expectation of a mass movement out of cities due to the rise of remote work associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, is counter to longstanding theories of the benefits of agglomeration economies. It suggests centrifugal shifts of economic activity which could boost neighbourhood economies at the expense of the downtown core. Using mobile phone data from SafeGraph, we track migration and daily mobility patterns throughout the New York metropolitan area between July 2019 and June 2021. We find that diverse suburban centres and exurban areas have bounced back more quickly than the dense specialised commercial districts in and around Manhattan.
Marcus Spiller and Laura Schmahmann
The notion that cities ‘drive’ innovation and productivity has become something of a truism in economic policy-making. Cultivating the benefits of urban agglomeration is de rigueur in any community envisaging a prosperous, knowledge-based, future. National and state governments of all persuasions in Australia profess an interest in building competitiveness through globally competitive, more liveable cities. But what difference does the model of metropolitan governance make to the realisation of this much sought-after advantage? This chapter argues that while strong central governments proved effective in promoting productivity during the ascendancy of post-war Fordism, reliant as it was on economies of scale, vertical integration and suburban production, the new economy is likely to demand more devolved forms of governance, both to elevate innovation potential and to ensure a more equitable distribution of the economic dividend.