Industrial Cities Initiative (ICI)

October 18, 2011

Welcome to the Community Development and Policy Studies (CDPS) blog about the Industrial Cities Initiative (ICI) project. The ICI will culminate in a symposium where we will present our findings on February 28, 2012. Our team will blog about the progress of the project until the event. Our last blog (on ICI) will be a recap of the symposium and an update on when the Federal Reserve publication will be finalized.

What is this ICI project?

The (CDPS) group at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is researching ten cities in its district (most of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and all of Iowa) that were manufacturing hubs in the 1960s. For purposes of this project, a manufacturing hub means a city that in 1960 had a population of at least 50,000 people and 25% or more of its employment in manufacturing.  Fifty-four cities in District 7 fit those criteria. We then used statistical regression analyses to isolate cities with unexpectedly high and low levels of ‘well being’, holding constant their respective declines in manufacturing as a share of overall economic activity. CDPS based ‘well-being’ on three criteria: (1) change in population; (2) change in employment; and (3) change in median family income.

In CDPS, as we explore issues impacting our region, and to add some dimension and depth to what we learn through data analysis, we often conduct personal interviews with key individuals who can help us sort through actual conditions on the ground. Accordingly, CDPS has engaged in in-depth interviews with individuals in the following 10 cities in an effort to develop more comprehensive community profiles: Cedar Rapids, IA; Waterloo, IA; Aurora, IL; Joliet, IL; Fort Wayne, IN; Gary, IN; Grand Rapids, MI; Pontiac, MI; Green Bay, WI; and Racine, WI.

What is the next blog on?

The next blog will discuss Aurora and some of the cities findings. We would appreciate your feedback and comments if you know the Aurora area well.

What is next for the project?

There will be a symposium to discuss the findings related to the 10 cities. Shortly thereafter, we will publish a Chicago Fed Letter summarizing the symposium proceedings and, subsequently, an in-depth Profitwise News and Views article detailing the case studies and findings of the initiative. Looking ahead, CDPS plans to investigate more cities in the 7th District facing the loss of manufacturing jobs and other impacts of globalization.

The views expressed in this post are our own and do not reflect those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago or the Federal Reserve System.


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