Urbani izziv Volume 23, No. supplement, July 2012
Department of Geography and Planning / The Urban Affairs Center, The University of Toledo, Toledo, USA
Bruce W. Smith
Department of Geography / Center for Regional Development, Bowling Green State University, USA
Collaboration in Local Economic Development: The Case of Toledo
Many American communities place a high priority on retaining and attracting innovative industries. However, in most American metropolitan areas, the responsibility for local economic development is fragmented along jurisdictional and institutional lines. The result of this fragmentation is that local economic development is often chaotic with no one individual, agency, or jurisdiction in control, which may inhibit the effectiveness of local economic development efforts. To address these challenges and more effectively utilize resources, there has been greater emphasis recently on regional collaboration in local economic development. The purpose of this paper is to measure the extent of collaboration among local economic development professionals in the Toledo, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area and to identify the extent to which these interactions constitute a social network. We believe that the existence of a strong social network among economic development professionals is critical to overcome some of the negative effects of jurisdictional and institutional fragmentation. While there is a core network of relatively dense collaboration in northwest Ohio, that network does not span the entire metropolitan area. A high level of local interactions occurs, but there are few “global pipelines” outside the region. A potential challenge for economic development in the region is to avoid “lock in”, which will make it more difficult to attract innovative industries or diversify the economy in order to decrease the traditional dependence on the auto industry.
innovative industries, local economic development, social networks, lock-in