Detroit getting its act together

Monday, April 09, 2007

Detroit is starting to build new patterns of civic collaboration, and other cities in Michigan are starting to notice. Read more.

The challenge, as always, will be to sustain these collaborative habits past the first generation of leaders who champion them. Regional economic transformation is a generational process. Leaders get tired. Unless they have focused on building underlying disciplines of collaboration, the process can fade.

On this dimension, the civic practices of the South stand out compared to Northern states. Generally, civic leaders in the South have a better understanding of the complex dynamics underlying collaboration at a metro or regional level.

In the North, civic leaders have less experience with this practice. They are confronted, as well, with another challenge: slower economic growth. Slower growth makes collaboration more difficult.

As the most recent Census report on metro growth points out, Northern metros are caught in a pattern of slow growth. In some cases -- Detroit is one of them -- civic leaders in the North will have to figure out how to build collaboration as their cities shrink.

posted by Ed Morrison |

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