“ By its very nature, the emerging postindustrial economy – based primarily on information flows in an increasingly seamless net – frees location from the tyranny of past associations...Increasingly, companies and people now locate not where they must but where they will.”
“ Ultimately this leads to a notion that, over time, our compelling connections will be not with our physical neighbors but with those with whom we share business, cultural, or other interests. The “cities of the future,” argues William Mitchell, are by nature antispatial: “The worldwide computer network – the electronic agora – subverts, displaces and radically redefines our notions of gathering place, community and urban life.” (Kotkin, The New Geography, p. 6)
“ In truth, the importance of geography is not dwindling to nothing in the digital era; in fact, quite the opposite. In reality, place – geography – matters now more than ever before. If people, companies, or industries can truly live anywhere, or at least choose from a multiplicity of places, the question of where to locate becomes increasingly contingent on the peculiar attributes of any given location.”
“ The reality is that globalization has two sides. The first and more obvious on is the geographic spread of routine economic functions such as simple manufacturing or service work (for example, making or answering telephone calls). The second, less obvious side to globalization is the tendency for higher-level economic activities such as innovation, design, finance, and media to cluster in a relatively small number of locations.” (Florida, Who's Your City, p. 19)
“Creative people and companies cluster because of the powerful productivity advantages economies of scale and knowledge spillovers such density brings...geographic concentration remains a prerequisite for cutting-edge innovation.” (Florida, p. 30)
“When people – especially talented and creative ones – come together, ideas flow more freely, and as a result, individual and aggregate talents increase exponentially: the end result amounts to much more than the sum of the parts. This clustering makes each of us more productive, which in turn makes the place we inhabit even more so – and our collective creativity and economic wealth grow accordingly...the multiplier effects that stem from such talent clustering [are] the primary determinant of economic growth .” (Florida, p. 66)
“The world economy of the future is likely to take shape around an even smaller number of mega-regions and specialized centers, while a much larger number of places will see their fates worsen as they find themselves struggling just to stay in the game.”
What about places like Rock Hill, Gastonia, Hickory and Spartanburg?
West Bend, Wisconsin (Population 30,000, 39 miles from Milwaukee)
“ Despite the fact that work can be done nearly anywhere, only a handful of cities are benefiting from global digitization. For example, simply being able to work from West Bend, Wisconsin, does not mean that employers and their next generation work force want to. This is not to dismiss West Bend’s charm: one of the authors of this article was raised there and loves to visit. However, West Bend, like many formerly vibrant towns, is losing young talent and becoming a bedroom community to Milwaukee, its closest Next Cities™ regional neighbor.”
(Area Development Online, “Where are the Next Cities?”)
With the aging of the Baby Boom generation, the number of workers aged 35-44 is actually declining. “In light of these trends, the next generation of knowledge workers will be able to leverage their reduced work force numbers to influence where businesses locate or relocate knowledge work. Unlike previous generations of knowledge workers, who chose where to live based on the availability of job opportunities, the next generation will decide where to work based on where they want to live. The next generation can, in the words of The Wall Street Journal, “pick a place to live and then find a job.”
Only a handful of cities had a net in-migration of young knowledge workers, while 90 percent of America’s cities suffered a net loss. In other words, cities that can attract and retain these highly mobile young knowledge workers will reap economic gains.”
(Area Development Online, “Where are the Next Cities?”)
“ The likelihood that one will move peaks at around age twenty-five and then declines steeply…For cities and regions, it means that places that attract young people end up being the winners in the nationwide competition for talent. (Florida, p. 227)
“When people rated their city’s openness to various groups, guess which group came in at the bottom of the list? …young recent college graduates looking to enter the job market… Nearly 45 percent of survey respondents said that their communities were either “bad” or “very bad” places for recent college graduates while just 7.3 percent said they were “very good.”
“ University cities represent a key engine for our nation’s economic emergence. But perhaps more importantly, they serve as vibrant centers of liveability, built upon partnerships between higher education institutes and civic institutions; between academic researchers and businesses, and between students and the community.”
Create a dynamic social, cultural, living and working environment in Old Town Rock Hill that is appealing to college students and young professionals.
Create knowledge economy economic development strategies (including public policy initiatives as needed) focused on attracting, educating and employing talented young professionals in the Rock Hill community.
1. Renew partnerships with Winthrop to focus on the knowledge economy
Identify resources as well as potential partnerships and collaborations to invest in plans, infrastructure and amenities that support the development of knowledge economy businesses in the vicinity of the Winthrop campus (including Cherry Road and the Textile Corridor).
Create social, cultural, transportation and development linkages between the Winthrop campus and downtown Rock Hill that promote and physically represent the interaction between the University and the community.
“ Knowledge workers are highly mobile, and are tending to be more loyal to their peer communities than to an employer… The key to success is the understanding that an attractive work environment alone is not sufficient to attract, retain and grow an increasingly global, and mobile, knowledge workforce. A total environment that integrates key elements of living, working and learning is needed.
(Murray and Greenes, “From the knowledge worker to the knowledge economy: Six billion minds co-creating the future”, www.emeraldinsight.com )
“For recent college graduates, one obvious choice is to stick around where you went to school, at least for a year or two. Most young graduates eventually move on, but many do choose to stay for at least a while – to engage in research, hang out with friends, or take advantage of a school-related job opportunity.”