Ron Kitchens, an economic developer from Michigan, writes in New Geography that we can’t expect national policies on green jobs to be a major generator of jobs. Rather, Kitchens points to “Community Capitalism” — which embraces place, capital, infrastructure, talent, and education in order to create jobs and wealth.
The author goes on to relate the work done in his hometown of Kalamazoo, where planners have embraced Community Capitalism for a century and have reaped the benefits because of it.
So what are we great at? We are one of only a few places globally where a drug can move from concept through trials to market. We are centrally located, a short drive to the logistical hub of Chicago. We can staff a call center or customer care center with the speed of light. We will leave the micro chips to Boise, the film industry to Hollywood, the Country music business to Nashville, the financial district to Manhattan; and telecommunications to Dallas. Not to say we won’t welcome a few of their companies. But they are great at those things; we will be good at best.
So how do we create jobs using the five precepts of Community Capitalism: place, capital, infrastructure, talent and education? The same way communities have grown for hundreds of years.