Kenan Fikri

New Monitor Reveals Mountain Region Outperforms Nation’s Recovery
June 28, 2012

For three years now the Mountain Monitor—Brookings Mountain West’s Mountain Zone variant of Brookings’ MetroMonitor—has been tracking the region’s protracted, in-most-places anemic, economic recovery. Quarter-to-quarter, the Monitor has reported on a slow healing of the region’s metropolitan economies that has differed starkly from the region’s past boom-bust cycles. Now, though, that reporting is continuing, albeit in a new, web-based interactive tool presenting data through the first quarter of 2012.  The new web-based tool provides not only a more interactive way to track trends in U.S.

States Smarten Up on Economic Development Incentives
May 07, 2012

States and localities have long regarded corporate tax incentives as handy tools for economic development. Experts, meanwhile, have equally long found occasion for criticism in their implementation.   Now, steadily accumulating evidence suggests that states are getting smarter in their design of incentive packages and that the practice is changing, gradually, for the better. Incentive packages have become so prevalent that an entire boutique consulting industry exists around helping corporations maximize them.   A fierce competition for capital compels states to offer increasingly generous pac

Global Cities’ Success Isn’t A Zero-Sum Game
March 30, 2012

Two of the country’s best-known urban thinkers have a discussion underway at Atlantic Cities and New Geography about changes in the urban hierarchy brought along by globalization. It paints a picture of globalization as a zero-sum game in which one city’s growth comes at the expense—at least relatively—of another’s. They suggest that peaks—concentrated centers of population and prosperity—get higher while valleys—economic left-behinds—get lower. Global competition certainly can sap a region’s assumed strengths and lead to periodic even multiple decade long population decline if a transition in

Germany’s Next Top Cluster! A Model Competition from Deutschland
February 28, 2012

Out of the recessionary rubble the “German model” stands tall in economic and policy circles for its resiliency and productivity. The Eurozone may be cracking but the German export machine keeps turning out world-beating manufactured goods with characteristic efficiency. Although fresh scrutiny is rightfully exposing weaknesses in corners of the German economy, experts concerned with the productive sector of the U.S. economy are turning to Germany for lessons. We at the Metro Program count ourselves among the German industrial sector’s admirers.

Destination USA: How Obama’s New Tourism Order Will Boost Jobs
January 27, 2012

The media didn’t take notice. President Obama didn’t mention it in his State of the Union. Nor did he emphasize it on his post-address swing-state tour stop in Nevada. But the outlook for job creation in some of the country’s hardest hit metropolitan areas turned sunnier earlier this month when President Obama issued an executive order that contained several shrewd and long-overdue measures to promote travel and tourism in the United States.

The Missing Link in the SOTU Energy Agenda
January 25, 2012

It was good to hear strong shout-outs for clean and renewable energy sourcing as part of the balanced energy stance promoted in President Obama’s State of the Union speech this week.   We’ve long agreed that the “all of the above” energy approach Obama championed last night could be desirable so long as it is just that--oriented to the balanced development of all sources including American renewable and clean energy as well as fossil fuel resources. In that nexus lies a politically defensible sweet-spot notwithstanding the tough politics of the energy debate. And yet, the President left out a

Regional Empowerment: Britain’s ‘City Deals’
January 24, 2012

Here at the Metro Program we have long advocated a “bottom-up” approach to economic development.  Such an approach calls for a major reorientation of federal-state-metro relationships--one that empowers metros and regions with real flexibility and resources so as to enable them to chart their own courses. And so we have often looked abroad for ideas as we have worked on concepts, such as Metropolitan Business Plans (coming soon: Metropolitan Export Plans) and our proposals for aiding and abetting the self-organized initiatives of innovation clusters. For example, we have closely followed devel

High-Tech Industries Boost the Mountain West’s Recovery
December 16, 2011

High technology and advanced manufacturing centers are recovering strongly from the recession, reports Brookings’ latest quarterly Metro Monitor regional economic tracker, and the landscape of the Intermountain West reflects the trend perfectly.  There, Brookings Mountain West’s Mountain Monitor--a regional companion to the national readout produced in partnership with the University of Nevada at Las Vegas--reports that Utah’s three major metropolitan areas and Phoenix, Ariz.