The term, “winner takes all” is a common if not stale term that’s been used in the technology industry for years. While it may be an ugly reality in tech, it’s a principle that has some significantly detrimental consequences in economic development. The Brookings report on growth centers solidly positions our understanding of why the federal government needs to get involved in making sure our second and third tier markets don’t get completely left behind. In the authors’ words, this is becoming a “grave national problem.” Learn here about how the promise of innovation districts offers to solve some of our core issues today by fostering more inclusive community and economic development, while giving our non-top-20 markets a fighting chance at being competitive.
A recent Brookings/ITIF report announced recently that nine out of 10 tech jobs were created from 2005 to 2017 in just five U.S. markets: Boston, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Nine out of ten. Roughly half of the remaining 382 markets lost jobs in the same industries; others gained but not as substantially as the top five. So, what next? The authors propose—and we wholeheartedly agree—that the federal government invest in the top eight or ten most-promising-for-innovation markets in the middle U.S., providing the necessary jumpstart cities need to successfully seed growth. Not a crazy idea if you understand that some of our country’s earliest research parks were heavily funded with federal dollars (i.e., Raleigh-Durham, Boston, etc.)