Friday, January 20, 2006

Maybe I'm Missing Something ...

... but is the only answer for ailing Rust Belt cities high tech and young people? I've heard this same story everywhere I've been before L.A. for the past five years. From personal experience, I know that -- even though I've lived in some places I really liked -- many of the young people would rather be elsewhere, especially recent college grads who grew up in the area.

And isn't that understandable? Don't places like Lansing understand that kids who've grown up there and went to school there may want to see what else is out there? And, really, are these recent college grads that valuable? They're inexperienced, don't have much disposable income, aren't going to buy a home anytime soon, won't be feeding kids into the school system anytime soon. Why this fetish for young people?

Why not go after families? A family is going to buy a home and pay more taxes, a family is going to be composed of at least two people who will contribute to a more experienced work force, a family will (O.K., these days it's may) send their kids to public schools, thereby earning the districts more funding. But I've never heard Roanoke, Cleveland, or Lansing use the word "family."

Someone help me on this.

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The Christian Science Monitor drops in on Lansing, but just uses the city as a backdrop.

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Remember, the official RF pick for the Democratic nomination for 2008 is Mark Warner. Keep an eye on the guy.

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New poll up in this.

10 comments:

Katie said...

The Rexrodes don't know about the drunk dial because apparently we aren't cool enough to receive one.

MLJ said...

Young unattached people are easier to recruit. It's harder to move if you have a family. Also, the thinking is once young people move they will stick around. It's the same tactic the tobacco companies use. They don't care about people who are currently smoking because they're pretty loyal to their brand. They want to get the kids here before they're hooked.

Craig said...

But are they easier to retain? Aren't they more liable to take off because they have more superficial roots?

If not families, aren't there databases of young married couples who are looking for a place to settle down? What if Cleveland became the Newlywed Capital of the Country?

I guess it'd then become pretty quickly the Divorce Capital of the World, but then at least Cleveland's hard-working divorce lawyers would get more work.

dr. dre said...

mlj's got it right, yo. the EASIEST thing to do is market to young people. we're impulsive; we're impetuous; we spring eternal. then we lose our jobs, get bored and look for another burg in which we can put our faith/money/hipness.

the hardest thing to do is attract stable companies that provide stable jobs for stable people.

remember that the tortoise wins the race every time.

Craig said...

Totally right. And think what sort of a marketing tool Team NEO (if it still exists) would have if it could prove to prospective companies that it had one of the most stable and employable populations in the country.

There's a creative class, and then there's a dependable class.

dr. rosenrosen said...

the "dependable class" should not be confused with the class that is in depends.

Jonathan said...

Just a thought - why bother to attract existing Americans? Forget new grads, nevermind families. Get immigrants.

If you look at midwestern urban cores like Detroit, the problem isn't just crime and blight, it's extreme depopulation. At a time when some people are trying to control the borders, why not instead try to attract millions of immigrants who want to escape tough lives someplace else? Give 'em all visas!

American history is an immigrant story - people come from someplace, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, open businesses, educate their kids...and then the kids move to California. You get the point though - motivated people will provide economic stimulus for decaying cities.

Craig said...

Good point. Great point. I know that Cleveland has been talking about that, but has been getting clobbered by the Sun Belt and New York.

all of us said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KATIE REXRODE!!!!

Erick Ryan said...

Attracting young professionals as a way to revive cities isn't even based on sound theory.