Smaller and richer

The Berkshires from North Adams, Mass., once an important industrial city and source of several steam pollution.    — Photo by JBCurio

The Berkshires from North Adams, Mass., once an important industrial city and source of several steam pollution.

— Photo by JBCurio

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com

Justin Fox, writing in Bloomberg, had a good piece on how some cities can shrink in population but yet get richer by reinventing themselves. Pittsburgh, which moved from steel and other manufacturing, to high tech, higher education and health care, is probably the best example.

Mr. Fox also cites among other cities Pittsfield, Mass., once heavily dependent on manufacturing, especially General Electric’s, but that has now positioned itself as a tourist, arts and college center in the middle of the Berkshires. Then there’s Barnstable County, Mass. (aka Cape Cod), another scenic area, which has become a favored retirement center for affluent older people. (That doesn’t seem a perfect recipe for long-term economic growth, if Cape Codders really want that growth.)

So once distressed cities can reinvent themselves. Still, it seems to me that truly long-term prosperity, with a strong middle class, is more likely with a highly diversified mix of services and manufacturing.

To Mr. Fox’s article, please hit this link.

https://www.crainscleveland.com/government/opinion-can-city-shrink-and-thrive-its-complicated