Big city development ideas can offer insight

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By Harold Morgan

If you accept the notion that individuals, or firms (firms are made of individuals) create jobs instead of civic powers-that-be, then what about the environment of the community might make it more inviting for those individuals or firms?
Fortunately, people get paid for thinking thoroughly about such problems. Thorough analysis, less interesting and harder than the latest fad, offers much more.
In his 67-page paper, “City Success: Theories of Urban Prosperity,” James Cortright of Impresa Consulting flies through 18 theories of urban success. Space constraints here mean doing little beyond listing the ideas. Cortright considers large metropolitan areas. That limits application in New Mexico. We have four metro areas, and only Albuquerque rates as medium-sized. That said, the ideas offer insight for even the smallest communities.
Successful cities build strategies harnessing talent, innovation, connections and distinctiveness. The best advice may be the most general, “…cities need to avoid fads and copycat policy making… successful cities are successful each in their own way. The challenge may be to find their own unique combination.” Overlaying the discussion is the fact that “relatively few businesses move outside the area in which they are established.”

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