Gas City, global city

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Thomison, Claire M.
Keil, Stanley R.
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Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
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As many cities and towns in the Midwest are rapidly losing jobs in what were once their critical manufacturing and agricultural economic bases, these municipalities are struggling to bring new businesses and jobs to their communities despite traditional economic development strategies and incentives. Cities that are succeeding in this age of globalization are focusing on development in information-based and high tech industries that require highly educated and highly skilled human capital, which is typically not found in traditional manufacturing towns. This poses several fundamental questions to urban planners: Can old manufacturing towns make the transition to the high tech, creative, information-based society? Or does there come a point where resources should be dedicated to helping a place gracefully decline rather than to an industry that will never succeed in such a location? I explore these issues in the context of a previous urban planning studio project that developed an economic development plan for Gas City, Indiana. I analyze the strategies that were recommended in this plan through the books Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser (2011), Caught in Middle by Richard C. Longworth (2008), The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida (2002), and also a special report on "Manufacturing and Innovation" in the The Economist (2012). Additional support is provided on why traditional economic development incentives can often be unsuccessful and what strategies may help Gas City to overcome the exodus of traditional manufacturing from the Midwest.