Mark Muro

Metro Business Plans: A New Approach to Regional Growth
December 13, 2010

No, a region is not a corporation. And no, turning around a metropolitan area hardly resembles running a business.

Regulated Utilities: Key to Clean Energy Adoption?
December 07, 2010

With the failure of cap and trade emission pricing in Washington and in international negotiations, we’re all wondering how to make progress on clean energy adoption without major leadership from the federal government. The possibility of such progress was one of the topics of a paper I recently worked on with colleagues from the American Enterprise and Breakthrough institutes. And it’s also something my colleague Jonathan Rothwell and I have been mulling as we work on a major forthcoming measurement of the clean economy in U.S.

Hubs, Clusters, Regions: Invention Centers
December 03, 2010

The other day I blogged about Steven Johnson’s new book, Where Good Ideas Come From, and noted what an incisive account the book provides of how and why some environments seem to breed new ideas effortlessly, while some squelch them.

Expanded Energy R&D: How to Pay for It
November 30, 2010

Yesterday the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a new report strongly recommending a substantial ramp-up in federal spending on energy research that would roughly triple current amounts to bring the total to $16 billion a year, with $12 billion of that going to  R&D and $4 billion to large-scale demonstration and deployment.   This is all welcome and in line with multiple reports and blogs from the Metro Program as well as other recent exhortations, including a report released in June by a group of business leaders arrayed around Microsoft Corp.

This Is What a Cluster Looks Like
November 29, 2010

I posted earlier about Joe Cortright’s interesting work describing the size, structure, and dynamics of Portland, Ore.’s athletic and outdoor cluster--firms that design, develop, manufacture, market, distribute, and sell apparel, footwear, and gear for active outdoor recreation. (Think Nike). Joe’s work shows that far from a crunchy West Coast niche activity the so-called “A&O” cluster now consists of more than 300 firms with a payroll, and employs more than 14,000 Oregonians, at an average wage of more than $80,000 annually.

Getting Active on Clusters: Portland, Ore.
November 23, 2010

We’ve been writing a lot recently about regional industry clusters and cluster policy, especially after our  fall “innovation clusters” event. Still, it’s always good to reiterate what, exactly, a cluster is, and to show that, rather than to tell it. Our colleague Joe Cortright has done just that in completing some fascinating work describing a fine case-in-point: Portland, Ore.’s athletic and outdoor (A&O) industry cluster. In this work, undertaken for the Portland Development Commission and other state and regional partners, Joe has provided a cogent analysis of the size, scope, structur

Steven Johnson: Genius of Place
November 19, 2010

One cool thing (among many) about the Global Metro Summit we are putting on in Chicago on December 8 with the London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society (free registration here) is that the night before Steven Johnson is speaking at a private dinner we’re hosting. I’m particularly excited about this because Johnson is one of my favorite writers and because his new book, Where Good Ideas Come From, is about one of my favorite topics: innovation. What’s great about the new book is that something latent in many of Johnson’s past books, whether on the London cholera e

Making Regions Work--Lessons from Italy
November 12, 2010

More than a month after my trip to Italy, I keep thinking about one of the books I read there--Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, by Robert Putnam. A classic text of governance and civics, Putnam's study focuses on a unique experiment begun in 1970 when Italy suddenly transferred the main responsibility for such activities as urban affairs, regional planning, public works, and economic development from a discredited and unpopular national government to a newly created set of elected regional governments. Alert to the potential for a novel study of fundamental issues in ci

Energy/Climate Policy: What Now?
November 08, 2010

So Washington is speculating what comes next for energy policy.

Climate and Energy Policy: Reset!
October 20, 2010

American energy policy is at a standstill. While theoretically there could be action in a post-election lame duck session, Congress seems set to adjourn having taken no substantive long-term action on either climate or energy. Liberals are realizing that cap-and-trade is likely dead for the foreseeable future as a means to raise the price of carbon emissions.