Friday, May 23, 2008

Metro areas in Florida

Read on May 23, 2008 in the Bradenton Herald.

Basically it's a self congratulatory notice on how we are converting to the Latinamerican model of macro-cities. In many Central and South American countries, the population has deserted small towns, villages, farms and open areas to concentrate in incredibly large conglomerates. The reason is mostly the absence of opportunities, and jobs, outside the large urban areas.

Is this really a good trend? Or, long term, we will start to see the surge of marginal neighborhoods within metropolitan areas?

The concentration of US population within 100 metropolis is something I hadn't heard about.
It might be the way of the future.

I appreciate anybody's comments on the subject.

This is the text of the article:

Metro areas power Florida by Stacey Eidson

Whether Floridians want to admit it, their state is not powered by sunshine.
Instead, Florida is driven by the economic strength of its metropolitan areas, said Bruce Katz, vice president and director of the metropolitan policy program at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

"This is a metro state," Katz told about 200 people attending the Tampa Bay Partnership's Regional Leadership Conference on Thursday at The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota. "You may not think of yourself as a metro state because many people may not identify themselves with living in a metropolitan area. But there are only a few states more metro than you."

Florida boasts seven of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas with cities such as Tampa, Bradenton-Sarasota, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Cape Coral and Palm Bay, Katz said.
Those seven account for 73 percent of the population, 77 percent of the jobs and 80 percent of the gross domestic product in the state.

"You alone are about 15 percent of the economic output of Florida's entire economy," Katz said of the Tampa Bay metropolitan area.
The Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice area specifically contributes 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product and 3.8 percent of the jobs in the state, according to The Brookings Institute's research.
With the tremendous power and innovation that these metropolitan areas contribute to Florida, city leaders need to stop "going it alone" and join forces, Katz said.

The country desperately needs a "blueprint for American prosperity," Katz said, explaining that a new federal partnership with state, local, and private sector leaders should be created to strengthen metropolitan economies, build a strong and diverse middle class and grow in environmentally sustainable ways.

"We are a metro nation," Katz said. "It is high time we start acting like one."
In order for the nation to prosper, Katz said it must leverage four key assets-innovation, human capital, infrastructure, and quality places-which are all concentrated in metropolitan areas.
"We have to rethink the mental map of the United States," he said, adding that this country is a network of more than 360 highly connected and economically integrated metropolitan areas. "This is who we are. We are not only a union of states. We are no longer a network of small towns."

"This is the heart of the American economy," Katz said, pointing up at a map of the 100 largest metropolitan areas.
Former Congressman Jim Davis, who unsuccessfully ran against Gov. Charlie Crist, attended Katz's discussion and encouraged metropolitan areas to come together and demand the federal government's attention.

"I think we in Florida, particularly, are at our best in times of crisis," Davis said. "Look what happens during a hurricane. Suddenly, everybody is your neighbor. We come together. It is a beautiful, powerful thing."
Katz said the entire country can learn a lot about itself during a crisis.
"I just came from New Orleans," he said. "It has been two and a half years since the storm. I mean, every American should go to New Orleans and be embarrassed by what has happened and not happened."

The entire nation let New Orleans down, he said.
"That was not a case of, we don't have enough money," he said. "We failed to organize ourselves. We failed to inspire the country to basically go down there, volunteer and say, 'Let's rebuild this sister city.' It is an embarrassment and it's a shame that we can basically lose an American city."

Florida boasts seven of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

Henry B. Nathan is a Florida Realtor at United Realty Group Inc.
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