The Great Lakes region of the United States made America a global agricultural and industrial powerhouse. Today, this highly integrated twelve-state economic region-too often called the Rust Belt- faces the daunting task of reinventing itself for leadership in a global knowledge economy, and its success in doing so is an issue of vital national importance.
On June 28, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program hosted the first in a series of forums to highlight ways the federal government can help bolster the economic assets of the Great Lakes Region. Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), a longtime proponent of revitalizing the region, provided opening remarks.
This two-panel discussion also included experts from the communities, universities, foundations and associations in the Great Lakes region. Panelists discussed the innovative efforts currently underway to boost the economic competitiveness of the region, such as technology, innovation, and environmental stewardship; and offered federal policy recommendations designed to foster the Great Lake Region’s continued growth as a vital economic engine for the nation in the years ahead.
In their recent book, “The New Localism,” Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak argue that cities and counties will be tested as never before in the coming years. They will need to innovate and reform—to pursue new strategies for growth and finance—in a fiscal environment dominated by rising health-care and pension costs. In these circumstances, the quality of metropolitan governance will matter more than ever.