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“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.
Erie has long tarried with the hope that leaders would “bring jobs” to the area. Katz suggested Erie’s regeneration, after decades of devastating industrial job losses, must start locally with the creation of new businesses that grow until Erie becomes the kind of place big companies come to — not because they are lured by big government incentives — but because they have to be here in order to compete.
Katz believes cities have a unique ability to galvanize action inside and outside of government at the grass roots level. In the absence of federal or state leadership on education, “new localism” is the most promising path forward.
Three years later, Mr. Katz said he was “hard-pressed to come up with a city that’s not thinking about how either the hubs around the universities or these very distinctive parts of the city, usually around waterfronts, where there’s legacy from older industrial space can be converted to other purposes.”