Archive

Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Education Attainment & Unemployment Rate

June 7th, 2009 7 comments

For the past five years I have repeatedly spoken about the correlation between Education Attainment and the Unemployment rate and what that means for East Chicagoans. But first some data on East Chicago:

  • Today <2% of East Chicagoans hold a college degree, well below the national average of 24%.
  • ~40% of the Adult population is considered functionally illiterate, with ~70% of adults incapable of attaining a professional job based on reading attainment.
  • Today the unemployment rate in East Chicago is >24%. Despite the efforts of the city to employ ~12% of those in the workforce, serving ~18% of households with a paycheck and ~28% of the electorate with a city job.

For a community like East Chicago the data presented in the graphs below are especially poignant. What I find rather remarkable about the graph is that you can clearly see, in the last 17 years, as educational attainment increases the less vulnerable you are to market fluctuations. You can see how the red line is so much more eradicate with a steep increase in reaction to todays recession. This may begin to flatten out as America rededicates more of it economy to manufacturing. Yet, unlike 20 years ago manufacturing has become an educated affair, requiring at minimum an associates degree.

Forty years ago when nearly 70% of jobs were found in unskilled labor, most East Chicago graduates were able to go to the Mills for one of a 100,000 steel or steel related jobs in East Chicago. Today 70% of jobs are found in professional services that require a College education. With the advances in technology and globalization East Chicago now employs less than 5,000 workers in steel and steel related jobs, all while production has increased a hundred fold. So, if you are preparing a population for where the vast majority of the jobs are (70%), then you are preparing them to receive a College education. That is the easiest solution towards employing a population. The more difficult solution is to find jobs for the under-educated.

via [ Calculated Risk ] In today’s employment market:

  • Those without a High School Diploma face an unemployment rate of ~16%
  • Those with a High School Diploma, but no College face an unemployment rate of ~10%
  • Those with some College or Associates Degree face an unemployment rate of ~8%
  • Those with a Bachelors Degree and higher face an unemployment rate of ~5%

Based on the BLS 2008 data: Education pays

This data does not bode well for East Chicago’s education system (here, and here) which ranks last in the state of Indiana on multiply measures. Indiana has also instituted a Core-40 program to track students and to ensure they receive the necessary skills to succeed. However, Core-40 will leave most East Chicago students without the proper credentials to apply to universities such as Purdue or Indiana University which now require Core-40 Honors. Despite the efforts of non-government agencies most parents of East Chicago freshmen are unaware of these requirements and the process for applying into the proper program. The Challenge is to set up an education system that incentives populations like East Chicago.

Categories: East Chicago, Economics, Misc

Conference: Drawing the Lines

March 4th, 2009 No comments

<Looking back at November 2006>This conference occurred more than 2 years ago at Indiana University Northwest. This is the kind of stuff that peeks my interests and tickles my hand. There was great significance to hosting such a conference at this time and place. Northwest Indiana had been looking for strategies to revitalize the region. They had developed the Marquette Plan, the Regional Development Authority, transportation projects, etc. This was in a continuation of efforts to move things along.

This brings to mind two issues.

  1. What is the role of the Artist in urban vitalization?
    • Too often the artist’s voice in these kinds of discussions are treated like a craft booth artist, pedaling their cute works. Otherwise they are deaf, dumb and blind. Artists are to perform and be quiet. This is what I call the “Dirty Dancing” treatment. I am often embarrassed for Artist who accept such roles. 
    • I believe the Artist needs to step up and contribute their voice to the built environment. I believe that Artist voice should take the leading role more often in civil society. 
  2. And what has happened in the last 2-years?
    • I am not certain anything has happened. I don’t know of any new initiatives or changes in the way the region is approaching revitalization. 
    • It appears to me with the announcement of the BP project the region has actually regressed from advancing such initiatives. 
    • Revitalization of the region reverted back to a reliance on old heavy industry, in this case the refining of the even dirtier fossil fuels – the Alberta tar sand.
    • The region became ensnarled in a lack of initiative and culture once again. Indiana and regional Leaders approved environmental permitting with out ANY objection. It wasn’t until Illinois voice objection to violating the the Clean water act that the issue was heard. Regional Leaders and the press did not investigate. They promoted the project without investigation. They approved with out reviewing impacts, particularly to initiatives outlined in this conference.

 

Drawing the Lines: International Perspectives on Urban Renewal through the Arts
This conference promotes conversation about art and urban renewal on the broader international scale alongside more local applications in Northwest Indiana. Drawing the Lines brings together the multiple constituencies whose perspectives are necessary to evaluating the merits of urban revitalization models.

Drawing the lines seeks to:

  • Explore models of urban renewal through the arts,
  • Reflect on the impact of renovations efforts in the community,
  • Understand how government and private markets affect urban change,
  • Share best practices among community based leaders and scholars, and
  • Build a coalition to create concrete initiatives for the Northwest Indiana region.

 

Conference Abstracts:

  • The Arts Can Define a Region
    John M. Cain, South Shore Arts
  • Revive:  Using Art to Help Heal a Superfund Site
    Minda Douglas, Marcia Gillette, and Ann Cameron, Indiana University Kokomo
  • The Impact of Visual and Expressive Art on Public Policy and Public Voice
    Karen G. Evans, Indiana University Northwest                                          
    Daniel Lowery, Calumet College of St. Joseph
  • Cool Cities” Through Their “Creative Class”: A Model for Revitalizing Indiana’s Essential Cities
    Bruce Frankel, Ball State University
    Deborah Malitz, Indiana City Corp.
    Larry Francer, Historic Farmland
    Flo Lapin, Goldspace Theater, Muncie
    Richard Sowers, Anderson Symphony
    David Bowdon, Columbus Symphony, Terra Haute Symphony, Carmel Symphony
  • The Interstices Between Art and Economic Development
    Michelle Golden, Books, Brushes and Bands
    Mary Kaczka, Hammond Development Corporation
    John Davies, Woodlands Communications
    Daniel Lowery, Quality of Life Council
  • The Poetics of Space: IU Northwest’s Sculpture Garden
    Neil Goodman, Indiana University Northwest
  • Available:  post-industrial development and design at Lake Calumet
    Ellen Grimes, w / M. Powell, A. Kirschner, and M. al Khurasat, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Urban Redevelopment and the Arts:  Flagship Cultural Projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco
    Carl Grodach, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Leveraging Culture to Build a City’s External Brand and Internal Cohesiveness
    Tom Jones, Smart City Consulting
  • The IU Northwest Klamen Mural Project
    David Klamen, Indiana University Northwest
  • Art in the Region” 
    Patricia Lundberg, Indiana University Northwest
  • Looking at Urban Renewal Trials
     Peter Matthews, University of Mar
  • Spaces of vernacular creativity
    Steve Millington, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • The Other City Beautiful: Philadelphia and its Avenue of the Arts
    Micheline Nilsen, Indiana University South Bend
  • Bilbao: a spectacular but somehow disenchanted city
    Antonio Román,, University of Deusto
  • The Creative Class and Urban Economic Growth Revisited
    Michael Rushton, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Creating A Vision for International Community Development:  Indianapolis in 2050
    William Plater, Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
  • Projects to Save a City
    Sanjit Sethi, Memphis College of Ar
  • The ‘Guggenheim Effect’ and the ‘New Bilbao’: On the Social Costs of Bilbao’s Urban Regeneration
    Lorenzo Vicario and Manuel Martínez-Monje, University of the Basque Country.

East Chicago’s Stimulus Totals $141,826,000

March 2nd, 2009 No comments

From the Stimulus Watch

Ah, we can do better than that.

How do you help a community when the Mayor and his cohorts are under indictment. Can you believe the projects he has put forward are critical to the well being of the community?

There are many critical issues that could be addressed with the proper funding. I would like to look at one vital issue – The Grand Calumet River.

East Chicago is home to the Grand Calumet River, considered THE MOST polluted waterway in the country, which feeds into the Lake Michigan – the source of our drinking water. The leading cause contamination – 100 years of INDUSTRY. East Chicago also has the poorest census tracts in the state. Maybe government agencies ought to begin to do something about it. Like a PUBLIC / PRIVATE partnership (before this industry declares bankruptcy and wiggles out of responsibility).

After 30 years of the Clear Water Act not a single effort has been initiated to clear this body of water -The plans are there, the funding is not.  So why isn’t cleaning of the Grand Calumet river apart of the Stimulus plan? I believe it is shovel ready.

Cleaning this river would stimulate new uses and open opportunities to the communities along its banks. The multipliers of this project are rich with opportunities, but so long as this polluted body of water continues to run through our community, opportunities will run dry. Just a thought.

The Marque project in the region is the Marquette Plan. From a previous post, here is what is happening in Portage: a middle-class community

Categories: East Chicago, Economics

E.C. Archives: BP & Taxes

February 15th, 2009 1 comment

Back in 2007 again, and coming at environmental advocacy from a different angle. The negative impacts are not all environmental they were also financial. In a community with the poorest census tracks in the state, yet paying the highest property taxes in the state at 8.45% this give-away to BP (without any job creation for East Chicagoans) is insane.

In fact we know that the project will lower residential property values and cap incremental increases in the future.

Straight from Enviromental Economics

March 20th, 2006 No comments

Throwing the Little Ones Back

Throwing the little fish back, a common practice, causes fish to shrink over time since there is selection against the survival of larger fish:

Survival of the Smallest, Ecology, Scientific American: Any commercial fisher or weekend angler knows to “throw the little ones back.” The idea is to give small fish time to grow up… But that strategy may actually be harming fish stocks. Ongoing experiments on captive fish reveal that harvesting only the largest individuals can actually force a species to evolve undesirable characteristics that diminish an overfished stock’s ability to recover, says David O. Conover, director of the Marine Sciences Research Center at Stony Brook University. The results may explain why many of the world’s most depleted stocks do not rebound as quickly as expected. 

Categories: Economics, Environment

Link Between Economic Performance and Quality of Life

August 21st, 2005 2 comments

The title is a place holder. Thoughts to come at a future time.

Categories: Economics, Environment

Brownfield Redevelopment

August 20th, 2005 No comments

Despite the fact that East Chicago is now the home of Mittal Steel, the worlds largest steel manufacturer, it still needs to grapple with the reality that steel production is quickly contracting and will very soon disappear from this region of the world. Below are three case studies of what can be done with the fallow brownfields left behind by steel producers. For many reasons East Chicago is fortunate to have survived as long as it has in the production of steel. This has provided the economic leaders of East Chicago with a wealth of case studies from which to learn. Although, East Chicago needs to work out a strategy tailored to its needs (to take advantage of unique opportunities), it has the strategies other municipalities have formulated from which to glean. In each case, the municipality had to retread its regional economy while adopting various reuse strategies.

Case Studies:
1) South Side Works, Pittsburgh LTV Property: What makes this example enticing is the fact that much of the land in need of redevelopment in East Chicago was also owned by LTV steel. Like the South Side Works East Chicago is located with in 20 minutes from a major city center. In the case of East Chicago, it is 20 minutes from downtown Chicago.
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Project Profile

2) The Sloss Furnaces

The Sloss story rests on becoming a National Historic Landmark. Proponents of preservation organized the Sloss Furnace Association to lobby for saving the site for historical and cultural importance to the City and its role as a symbol of the technology that once made Birmingham the foremost industrial center of the South.

3) Emscher Park Germany (for PDF)

Emscher Park, opened in 1989, is a bold attempt to re-use one of the largest industrial wastelands in the world. Built on ecological principles, the park offers a range of high quality recreation facilities for local people and tourists, as well as housing and offices. “The idea was born in the 1999 regional economic strategy, which identified the need to take forward large-scale environmental projects that would benefit recreation and regeneration and have a good effect on the region’s image.”

Urban Growth Indicators

August 20th, 2005 No comments

I just came across the Mathew Kahn’s the Environmental and Urban Economics blog and his post on What is the key to urban growth? is it gays? – a turn on Prof. Florida’s “Creative Class.”

Categories: Economics

Overlay #3: Redevelopment of the Marktown Historic District

August 20th, 2005 No comments


Redeveloping the Marktown Historic District to attract Latino Yuppies from Chicago is another redevelopment project the Administration has revisited on several occasions.

Categories: East Chicago, Economics