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Interesting article...

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Perused this article on urbanplanet's home page:

Here are some excerpts:

A Tokyo executive who is curious about Cincinnati, a magnet of Japanese industrial investment, lands with a casual Google search at, a no-nonsense site that touts the city's strengths in Japanese and five other languages.

The site is part of a broader strategy that's helped boost the number of foreign-owned companies in the metro region to 285 from 168 in the past five years, creating more than 38,000 jobs, according to the Cincinnati USA Partnership 2004 investor report. The site also hawks Shakespeare Festival tickets.

For more than six years, has showcased the Windy City (the domain's operators helped coax the world headquarters of Seattle-based Boeing Co. to Chicago in 2001). Nashville is touted as "the Hottest City in America for Relocation and Expansion" by a corporate relocation trade magazine prominently linked to the home page.

"Many cities are doing this," said Robert Milbourne, president of the Columbus Partnership, an economic development agency in Ohio that works with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and

"Increasingly, companies are making decisions simply by going on the Internet and collecting this kind of information," said Milbourne, who directed the Greater Milwaukee Committee civic organization, also known as the GMC, from 1985 to 2002. "The cities that figured this out obviously are benefiting."

What do you guys think about it, especially as it concerns SC's major cities?

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I know that in the "Your thoughts on Columbia" thread, we discussed the city's lack of a national image, failure to promote itself, etc. This article discusses the very same thing, only Milwaukee is the example.

The article says:

Where is the Internet address that promotes Milwaukee's economy far and wide in the online world?

"I'm sorry, we don't have one," said Virginia L. Carlson, an associate professor in the department of urban planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and formerly the founding director of research at the World Business Chicago economic development agency.

In a Google-powered world, other cities use the Web as an everyday tool while Milwaukee sits on the sidelines.

Milwaukee's online anonymity makes it an analog city in a digital global economy - a place where civic and political leaders are just beginning to scratch out the kind of economic strategy that has been underpinning growth in other cities for a decade. Before a Web page can sell a city's economic vision, a city needs a vision in the first place.

It isn't as if Milwaukee lacks bragging rights. It remains a burly business town despite a savage three-decade industrial downsizing that wiped out two out of every three factory jobs. The research in Milwaukee's favor is compelling if unexpected and is immediately accessible to anyone who navigates

Even without per-capita adjustments to the Fortune 500 numbers, Milwaukee holds an impressive rank: Fortune magazine, which published its 2005 list last week, ranks Milwaukee as America's No. 9 city when measuring the number of Fortune 500 headquarters inside its city limits - ahead of cities with far livelier reputations, such as San Francisco and Seattle.

In concept, sounds a lot like Columbia. We know the advantages: state capital, home of state's flagship university, central to the state, excellent climate, three rivers, three interstates, first-rate zoo, and on and on. I think the revamping of the CVB website was a step in the right direction, but of course, much more can and should be done. So where exactly can we point, say, a German business, that is considering expansion somewhere in the US southern region to something definitive on the web about the economies of our cities? I know that Columbia has its Development Gateway website, but the site isn't dynamic enough. It still lists the Meridian Building, the Convention Center, and the redevelopment of the confederate printing plant into Publix as "future projects." I'm not sure what Greenville and Charleston offer in this regard.

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Though I think Columbia has greater potential to become a larger urban center - Charleston has the greatest appeal outside of the state. Not only in the US, but to an extent even Europe respects this nation's few examples of classic urbanism, not to mention the beauty of the city. Unfortunately, NIMBYism (& often with good reason) has put a gate across the peninsula - making non-appealing North Charleston the business center.

So - Charleston doesn't come across as a significant business center, with Columbia becoming the regional business center & Greenville becoming an important cross roads center for Charlotte & Atlanta.

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