Ohio Leaders Learn Lessons from Europe

Greater Ohio’s Executive Director, Lavea Brachman, will be joining 20 leaders from Cleveland, Youngstown, Flint, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the federal government, and select philanthropic foundations on a 8 day learning tour through Barcelona and the Ruhr Valley of Germany.  Sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the tour is part of a 3-year “Cities in Transition: Shrinking Cities” Project that is exploring successful policies and practices Europeans have used to rebuild their cities and economies.   Lavea Brachman is a senior fellow at GMF and has played a leadership role in shaping the Cities in Transition project for the last 18 months.  While in the metro regions of Essen and Barcelona, this year’s study tour participants will learn about innovative regional economic development agencies that coordinate business site selection, industry clustering, and external promotion of the region; the transformation of heavy manufacturing facilities into multiuse R&D labs, business incubators and recreation spaces; remediation of coal mining sites for new uses; and the incentives and investments used to develop a knowledge economy.  These cities and their surrounding industrial regions have successfully addressed many of the economic development challenges Ohio’s cities still face. 

This tour offers unparalleled opportunities to talk to the architects and officials who envisioned and implemented the rebirth of Europe’s struggling cities and regions.  Viewing the results, talking about strategies that have and haven’t worked, and learning how a metro’s vision became a reality enables participants to quickly gain a deep understand of best practices that might be replicated in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

In the coming weeks, we will discuss lessons learned on our blog and website.

To learn more about the key takeaways and observations from last year’s German Marshall Fund study tour to Manchester, England and Leipzig, Germany, you can read past posts on: the use of public money as investments not subsidies; the role of leadership in these cities’ revitalization; neighborhood revitalization successes; comprehensive urban, economic, and community planning and development.