A Meeting Of The Minds On How To Revive Industrial Cities

As the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said in a recent paper outlining how to inject some new life into our industrial cities, “‘Rust Belt’ is a phrase that speaks for itself”.

ArtPrize Grand Rapids - this 2010 entry, Elephant Walk, made it into the top ten finalists. (Niala Boodhoo)

That’s why I was pleased to learn that the bank invited a group of people from different cities across the Midwest for a day-long event yesterday to kick off a new project that will look at what works – and what doesn’t – when encouraging economic revitalization.

Among the attendees: representatives fromĀ ArtPrize, the annual Grand Rapids public art competition that has brought hundreds of thousands of people to the city’s downtown during the fall event. If you’re not familiar with ArtPrize, here’s some of our reporting on the competition.

ArtPrize’s Brian Burch said the day went well, with lots of analysis and recommendations but a few overarching solutions that are applicable to many industrial cities.

Burch said it also confirmed many of the concepts behind ArtPrize – the idea that a focus on people and creativity foster innovation and economic growth.

“The best things communities can do is invest in education and develop a marketplace of ideas that make it easier for anyone to realize their dreams and take ideas into action,” Burch said.

You can learn more about the Fed’s initiative here.