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