Thursday, May 24, 2007

More on Akron's Economy Sucking Less

The ABJ fronts the Brookings study today with some original reporting. John Higgins interviews Ned Hill from the Levin College at CSU who contributed to the Brookings report. Hill lists some of the advantages Akron has over some of the other cities in the area including diverse housing stock, a strong urban public school system and a solid downtown. He specifically credits the Mayor and UA President Luis Proenza for their work.

I'd add some visionary developers like Tony Troppe and Micheal Owen who, among other things, are responsible for the Historic District and the AES building and Canal Place, respectively (and both of whom are friends of mine.) And obviously lots of other people leading big companies sited downtown and entrepreneurs starting small businesses.

Both the ABJ and I have been measured in assessing the degree of the good news. Neither being "off the weak list" or being "less sucky" exactly describes unqualified success. Nonetheless, the relative success of Akron over the rest of urban Ohio is worth remarking on.

And worth studying, which is the next step. Brookings is going to conduct a case study of Akron in an attempt to figure out why things suck so much less here. One of the dominant questions will be the role of states in encouraging urban development. AdNEO is pushing that angle.

Finally, I can't help myself. I wrote up the PD's story from the perspective of the good news it contained for Akron Monday night. But newspapers don't give hat tips.