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Prosperous cities are cities that have adapted to changing economic conditions.  The cities that adapt most successfully are those that take stock of their assets and connect those assets to opportunities in growing sectors of the economy.  Cleveland is fortunate to be a city rich in assets.  The Connecting Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan identifies Cleveland’s key economic assets and proposes economic development policies that build on the foundation of those assets.

Case Western University is considered one of the premier research universities in the country, as well as its recognition as a tremendous local asset.[“The Turning Point” – Bellflower near East Blvd.]
So, what are Cleveland’s economic assets?  Some of them, such as Cleveland’s world-renowned medical and educational institutions, are now the subjects of much excited discussion.  Some, such as the plentiful supply of fresh water provided by the Great Lakes and the manufacturing skills possessed by Cleveland’s workforce, have hardly been seen as assets at all.  While others, such as Cleveland’s strengths in the arts and culture and the distinctive character of the city’s many urban neighborhoods, which have long been seen mostly as things to be proud of, are just now being recognized as potential engines of economic growth with the power to attract bright and talented entrepreneurs.The new Citywide Plan proposes an economic development strategy that focuses on connecting the city’s assets to opportunities for economic growth.  The opportunities for growth are as diverse as our various assets. For example, medical education and research can create jobs in the burgeoning new field of biotechnology.  Also, Cleveland’s proven strengths in traditional manufacturing, coupled with the area’s considerable expertise in cyber technology and training, can develop jobs in computer-assisted manufacturing.

Lakefront access at Edgewater Park will be greatly enhanced by the City’s Lakefront Plan, contributing further to Cleveland’s diverse urban environment.  [Edgewater Park]
Meanwhile, the city’s distinctive urban neighborhoods and amenities, like an accessible lakefront and bike trail system connecting its nationally recognized park system, can, if properly developed and marketed, play an active role in creating jobs—by providing the kind of lively and stimulating urban environment that is known to attract creative individuals and fresh-thinking entrepreneurs of the sort who will drive the new “knowledge-based” economy. Indeed, in the very process of being converted to new use, even dubious “assets” such as brownfields and obsolete buildings create jobs in environmental remediation and “green” building construction—building local expertise in emerging industries that will soon be in great demand as the realities of environmental degradation and exploding energy needs worldwide sink in.

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