Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rust Belt Watch.... Las Vegas???

Actually this isn't just another blast of Pittsburgh hagiography.  Good graphics and benchmarking of Pittsburgh vis a vis some other regions in the Las Vegas Sun today. See: 

Lessons Las Vegas can learn from the Rust Belt

What I am remembering is a economic development conference I was at a long long time ago.  There were folks from both Boston and Las Vegas there and there was a fun exchange.  It was something like the folks in Boston saying they had not built a new school since 1950 or something like that whereas the folks in Las Vegas they had no school older than 1950.  Makes for 2 very different sets of problems.  I'm sure those types of factoids on Boston could come to describing us as well. Probably a lot more extreme here in terms of any metric comparing infrastructure investment in Pittsburgh since 1950 compared to almost anywhere else in the nation.

But I also retains this little bit of info from the same conference.. in Las Vegas their metrics of growth were all keyed to hotel rooms.  They knew to to a decimal place how much each new hotel room translated into in terms of local economic activity and income.  Nothing else really mattered to them for a long time and maybe that is beginning to change.  But the issues there are much like they were here:  what happens when you rely on a single industry and what happens when that industry is no longer an engine for growth.

So no... I don't think Las Vegas is anywhere near the situation Pittsburgh was in, but the very fact that they are thinking this way is probably a good thing.  It also is pretty amazing in itself when you get a Las Vegas paper comparing Las Vegas to 3 'rust belt' regions plus Boston thrown in for good measure.


Post a Comment

<< Home