So apparently, Downtown Dallas has jumped into the blogosphere and advertising what is apparently the first step in the Strategic Action Plan for Downtown Dallas. The strategy: to build off the
This might make some sense
Here are my problems with this strategy, and to be frank, I've seen it unsuccessful nearly everywhere it is tried:
- First, these are company's that would relocate strictly based on a financial incentive package. Many companies (and an increasing amount of people in the new economy AND Millennials) locate based on quality of life and sense of place. What is to keep them from jumping again to a better offer or playing desperate cities off each other like Jerry Jones did with his new shiny stadium?
- Next, while we would like to think this is a long-term strategy, it really isn't when you think about it. The economy became overly centralized in the 20th century and we're seeing the start of a very slow unwinding or slo-mo big bang despite those very industries desperate attempts to delay the inevitable and continue the economic darwinism threatening deeper and further repercussions. Markets fail with overcentralization and those pyramidal structures start slicing away sides of the triangle . Recruiting large companies, means companies that aren't going to grow or expand. Which leads me to:
- A more Richard Florida-esque approach (who coincidentally will be speaking at UTA next week and unfortunately I will be out of town and will miss it - synopsis anyone?) to economic development is required. Downtown Dallas needs to attract people. The type of people that are entreprenuerial and will start their own businesses. Small businesses expand exponentially. If I remember correctly, when I first moved here a report was done suggesting downtown Dallas would need 30,000 residents to be a true, successful downtown. At the time, there was 3K. In approximately, the same period of time, I showed how a smaller area of lower Manhattan had increased population from 25K to 50,000 residents (with young families w/ children! - BABIES!).
- Economic Development is cultivated by the seeds of innovation. Something created by smaller, more innovative and nimble companies and stifled by (and subsequently purchased) institutionalized corporate pyramids.