Economic Development in three Urban Areas: Atlanta, Baltimore and Cleveland

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Executive Summary
The following pages review the comprehensive strategies that have been used by the cities of Atlanta, Baltimore and Cleveland to improve their economic conditions. It should become apparent to the reader that the fate of each city is determined by many factors including historical events, the balance of power between stakeholder groups, the ability of the city to capitalize on federal programs and the relationships between the private sector and the community. Unfortunately, no clear winning strategy arose from each city’s economic development efforts; they all caused both gainers and losers.
Atlanta is a city that is led by business leadership whose main priority is to promote business interests that are at times at odds with the communities’ development. Baltimore, with very little private investment, relies heavily on its citizens' involvement whose collective bargaining and activism have hindered its political leadership’s attempts at growth. Cleveland has fallen victim to “ivory tower” leadership that has led to financial mismanagement and increased community frustration.
I have attempted to review the last decade in each city, and in the context of that city examine the strengths and weaknesses of their actions. The scope of this project is large. To focus the reader’s attention on the difficulty the cities have experienced in trying to meet their stakeholders’ needs and expectations, I have chosen to focus on a few specific actions that were taken in each city to promote economic development. This discussion is by no means exhaustive; additional learnings can be gleamed from further research.

Atlanta
Atlanta’s political and social structure and development has been characterized by what author Clarence Stone labels regime politics in his book Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta: 1946-1989. The regime’s determining factor is the loosely formed coalitions and collaborations between the white Atlanta elite and the black middle class leadership. The partnership (although the power was not balanced between the groups equally) has its beginnings in the 1940’s when astute white businessmen properly predicted the growth of a black middle class and a shifting in electoral power. Faced with two choices: to use their social and economic clout to fight the inevitable changes in politic...

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...nnovation Study Suggests Metro Area Must Change its Priorities to Increase Prosperity.” Atlanta Journal & Constitution. Nov. 5, 2001.

Shields, Gerard. “2 bills Aim to Bring BDC Into the Open; City Senators Want Agency's Meetings Accessible to Public; Mayor Opposes Measures; Proposals' Critics Say Business Dealings Require Secrecy.” The Baltimore Sun. February 21, 2000.

Siegel, Eric. “Renewal Efforts Move at Slow Pace; Empowerment Zone Shows Spot Successes Five Years After Grant.” The Baltimore Sun. Jan 10, 2000.

Smith, Jane. “A Dialogue on The Atlanta Project with Jane Smith, Executive Director.” The Inner City: Urban Poverty and Economic Development in the Next Century. ed Thomas Boston and Catherine Ross. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1997. pp. 291-297.

Smothers, Ronald. “Cleveland Mayor Warns Newark an Arena Is No Cure-All.” New York Times. Oct 20, 1999.

Stone, Clarence. Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta: 1946-1989. Lawrence, Ks: University Press of Kansas, 1989.

“Videotape: The Cleveland Turnaround: Leadership In Action,” (Boston: Harvard Business Publishing Corporation, 1996).

The Cleveland Today website. http://www.clevelandtoday.org/info/edit.html

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