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What We Need, Part I

September 13, 2011

Tampasphere notice a couple of interesting items recently in the Times.

Economic Development

First, a column by Robert Trigaux regarding a conversation with author Don Peck and his book Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures & What We Can Do About It.  What caught our interest is this nugget, which flows nicely into our recent discussions:

Our area, Peck argues, faces a dilemma. The construction industry has shrunk dramatically and is unlikely to grow back to the behemoth it once was.

But there are still a lot of people in the Tampa Bay area who were drawn by the housing boom and now are stuck in homes they can’t sell or with jobs that went away. That helps explain the metro’s 11.1 percent jobless rate.

“So,” Peck asks, “what do you do? Where does the cash come from?

“When you look at those cities that are recovering, many have a very highly educated work force.” He cites Manhattan, San Jose, Calif., Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., as examples.

“They have very strong local universities” he said. “They often have lots of tech companies that are within the city or close by. And they are recovering.”

In other words, in addition to the general need to develop the economy away from tourism and construction, there is another point.  Namely, for the suburbs to thrive, the cities must grow – urban growth will support suburban employment.  The era of living off ever expanding sprawl is likely over. (Which is pretty obvious when you consider how overbuilt the residential sector is).  our leaders need to understand this now and plan accordingly.

International Flights

The Second item that caught our attention was a PolitiFact analysis of Tampa’s mayor’s comment on the impact of international flights on the local economy.

Setting aside the veracity of the comment, PolticFact concludes that a European flight would add about $150 million to the local economy while a flight to Latin America would be more modest.

Tampasphere thinks that’s ok. We’ll take it.

Given the Trigaux column, this area needs to anything it can to develop industry, business, and connections throughout the world. Complacency is not acceptable.

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