The Smartest Places on Earth
Rust belt cities might be the real emerging markets, but is Milwaukee one of them?
Where are the smartest places on the planet? Authors Antoine Van Agtmael and Fred Bakker argue they’re in formerly declining industrial cities like Akron, Albany and Dresden in their new book The Smartest Places on Earth: Why the Rustbelts are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation. Tracking centers of innovation in Europe and the United States, the authors explore the key factors present in creating modern day economic engines. Their travels led them to identify a number of “brainbelts,” where a combination of forces is present that is leading to the creation of smart products that are transforming industries.
Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute said that the book “upends conventional wisdom about how the global economy works and which places are primed to thrive and prosper.” While David Swenson of Yale University said “this extraordinarily well-researched book challenges the conventional view of a developed world in relative decline.”
Milwaukee, however, does not appear on their list. How does the city get there and what needs to happen? We will convene for discussion and a social hour on June 27th in the backroom of My Office, 763 N. Milwaukee St, at 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend, the discussions are informal and open-ended. If you don’t finish the book, don’t worry. Come to listen, learn and engage.
The book is available from Amazon, the Milwaukee Public Library, and bookstores everywhere.
Because this book is shorter than most of our past books, we’re recommending a second book for attendees. Building off of past books like Start-Up City and Streetfight, The Responsive City explores strategies for community engage through “data-smart governance.” Written by former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and Harvard professor Susan Crawford, the book looks at many of the innovative policies put in place during Goldsmith’s time under Michael Bloomberg (when Goldsmith served there as Deputy Mayor) as well as examples from Boston and Chicago. At only 208 pages, the book is short and thought-provoking.
About the Authors
Antoine van Agtmael is senior adviser at Garten Rothkopf, a public policy advisory firm in Washington, DC. He was a founder, CEO, and CIO of Emerging Markets Management LLC; previously he was deputy director of the capital markets department of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector oriented affiliate of the World Bank, and a division chief in the World Bank’s borrowing operations. He was an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center and taught at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Mr. van Agtmael is chairman of the NPR Foundation, a member of the board of NPR, and chairman of its Investment Committee. He is also a trustee of The Brookings Institution and co-chairman of its International Advisory Council. He is on the President’s Council on International Activities at Yale University, the Advisory Council of Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Alfred Bakker, until his recent retirement, was a journalist specializing in monetary and financial affairs with Het Financieele Dagblad, the “Financial Times of Holland,” serving as deputy editor, editor-in-chief and CEO. In addition to his writing and editing duties he helped develop the company from a newspaper publisher to a multimedia company, developing several websites, a business news radio channel, a quarterly business magazine, FD Outlook, and was responsible for the establishment of FD Intelligence.
- May 2016 – Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
- April 2016 – Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
- February 2016 – Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
- January 2016 – Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam
- December 2015 – Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun by Gabe Klein
- June 27th, 2016 – The Smartest Places on Earth
- August 8th, 2016
- September 19th, 2016
- November 7th, 2016