Heartland

Why More Americans Should Leave Home and Move to Other States

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America has been lazily divided by pundits into red and blue states, as if there weren’t constant movement of people between them. Fortunately, reality is a lot more purple — and hopeful — as immigrants, people of color and millennials reshape parts of America by voting with their feet and moving.

These demographic groups are migrating from the big coastal cities to the suburbs, the interior cities, the South and even parts of the Midwest. And in the process, these newcomers change both their new homes and are also changed by them.  read more »

For Work I Got Two Jobs

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For work, I got two jobs. I am an academic at Cleveland State that focuses on the issues of city building, and I am a Co-Founder in an analytics company called Rust Belt Analytica that develops algorithms and corresponding technology to help cities build better. There’s a bit of a difference between the two — one a little more mission-focused and the other a little more method-. But that is neither here nor there for now.  read more »

Fisker-Foxconn Could Get Region Deeper Into EV Era

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If Fisker ends up building electric vehicles with Foxconn Technology Group in Wisconsin, as seems likely, the stunning new development could make a huge winner out of what was an economic-development disaster — and put the state back into the business of making cars for the first time in 13 years.  read more »

Economic Civil War

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Our national divide is usually cast in terms of ideology, race, climate, and gender. But it might be more accurate to see our national conflict as regional and riven by economic function. The schism is between two ways of making a living, one based in the incorporeal world of media and digital transactions, the other in the tangible world of making, growing, and using real things.  read more »

For Product Narratives, Nowhere Beats Flyover Country

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In every pursuit these days, “the narrative” seems to be the thing. Tell a story that checks enough of the right boxes in the zeitgeist, the thinking goes, and you can get citizens, taxpayers and consumers to “buy” what you want them to buy.

This is a reality that’s being used against Flyover Country – but one that also provides us with opportunities to flip the script.  read more »

Bluegrass, Bourbon, and Basketball

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I grew up in the Louisville metro area (Southern Indiana), but somehow never managed to visit Lexington, Kentucky, which is only about 70 miles down the road.

A grant from the Knight Foundation gave me the opportunity to correct that oversight and write an article about Lexington. I’ll admit to a certain selfishness in pitching that idea. I wanted to learn more about Lexington and finally get the chance to visit the city.

Fortunately I was able to get that visit in pre-pandemic. Lisa Adkins, President of the Bluegrass Foundation, even graciously gave me a tour.  read more »

Give Me Paris? -- Or Detroit and Bismarck, Odessa and Midland

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It looks like the early days of the Biden administration are setting up an economic faceoff between the sensibilities of the coasts and the realities of Flyover Country. Or, as an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal put it, "Will Biden Choose Paris Over Bismarck and Pierre?"  read more »

Heartland Region Poised for Industrial Resurgence as Firms Consider Returning From Abroad

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Today, Heartland Forward published new research, "Reshoring America: Can the Heartland Lead the Way?," which finds the U.S. poised for an industrial comeback led by the Heartland and fueled by reshoring, the return of manufacturing centers to the U.S. from abroad.  read more »

‘Call Your Mother’ Sitcom Is Coastally Out of Step

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Call Your Mother is lame enough as it is. But a major extra shortcoming of ABC’s latest sitcom, which recently debuted with a pilot episode, is that one of its foundations is a banal juxtaposition of Flyover Country with the coasts.

Get this: A central premise of the show is that an empty-nester widow moves to Los Angeles from Iowa to be near her two adult kids who like living in California right now. In that important regard, Call Your Mother is so, well, 2019 – and so heedless of the current zeitgeist.

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Quality Of Life, Or Quantity Of Lives?

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Anyone who's been in the urbanism game as long as I have (or longer) is probably familiar with the annual Places Rated Almanac, the annual metro area ranking reference produced by David Savageau. First published in 1981, I remember seeing each year's edition in bookstores while I was in high school and college, and it was the first attempt I could remember at evaluating the positives and negatives of place, and ranking them accordingly.  read more »