Recap: Revisiting the Promise and Problems of Inner City Economic Development

"Revisiting the Promise and Problems of Inner City Economic Development," an inner-city economic summit, was held September 15–16, 2015 in Detroit. The conference brought together researchers and practitioners who shared their knowledge and experience on how inner cities can grow and develop into vibrant areas where people want to live, work, and play.

Michael PorterHighlights of the summit include keynote presentations by Michael Porter and Matt Cullen. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School and founder and chairman of Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, discussed how our knowledge base has grown regarding what works for inner cities and how clusters can promote economic growth. Porter summarizes his talk in a brief video.

     • Michael Porter video

The presentation by Matt Cullen, president and CEO, Rock Ventures LLC and Chair, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, is titled "Opportunity Detroit: Detroit's Story is Still Being Written." In it Cullen described several successful redevelopment efforts that have occurred and that are ongoing in the City of Detroit. His presentation is available in five brief video clips broken down by subject.


     • Cullen video Part 1: Prologue (introduction)
     • Cullen video Part 2: Hardware
     • Cullen video Part 3: Software
     • Cullen video Part 4: Placemaking
     • Cullen video Part 5: What's Next

Furthermore, the academic papers presented during the summit will form a special issue of Economic Development Quarterly, which will appear in May 2016.

More available conference materials

     • Conference agenda

     • Pre-Tour Discussion with William Sander, William Testa & Martin Lavelle

     • Welcome Address—Dr. Carol O'Cleireacain, Deputy Mayor for Economic Policy, Planning, and Strategy, City of Detroit

Panel 1: New Thinking on the Competitiveness of Inner Cities: Evidence from Research & Practice

     • Mercedes Delgado, Assistant Professor, TIES Group, MIT Sloan School of Management

     • T. William Lester, Assistant Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

     • Scott Mosley, Director of Investment Strategies, The Water Council

     • Paul Riser, Jr., Managing Director, Technology-Based Entrepreneurship, TechTown Detroit

Panel 2: Opportunities for Business in the Inner City: Evidence from Research & Practice

     • Kevin Stolarick, Director, India Institute for Competitiveness, Toronto, ON

     • Timothy Bates, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Wayne State University

     • Ray Leach, Chief Executive Officer, JumpStart, Inc., Cleveland, OH

     • Rashida Thomas, Director of Education and Workforce Development, Focus: HOPE, Detroit

Related material

     • The Pew Charitable Trusts—Stateline: Detroit Seeks to Rebound from Bankruptcy

     • Chicago Fed Letter: Revitalizing Inner Cities: Connecting Research and Practice, by Robin Newberger and Maude Toussaint-Comeau

Summit sponsors: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Initiative for a Competitive Inner City; W.E. Upjohn Institute; Sage.