Totally True…

And depressing…

But those are exceptions. Cleveland, one of our worst big cities, could spark a renaissance by revamping its port and nearby industrial hinterland. Once the world economy improves, it could re-emerge–building on the existing knowledge and skills of its production- and design-savvy population–as a hub for manufacturing and exports.

But right now, Cleveland does not seem to be pursuing such opportunities. As Purdue’s Ed Morrison has pointed out, local leaders there seem to “confuse real estate development with economic development.”

So Cleveland will focus on inanities such as convention business and tourism, believing we all fantasize about a week enjoying the sights along Lake Erie. Yet even high-profile buildings like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, completed in 1986, have not transformed a gritty old industrial town into a beacon for the hip and cool.

Old industrial cities like Cleveland are better off focusing on their locational advantages–access to roads, train lines and water routes–while offering a safe, inexpensive and friendly venue for ambitious young families, immigrants and entrepreneurs.

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