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Thread: Intra-metropolitan competition

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Intra-metropolitan competition

    Competition among neighboring cities for businesses is generally agreed to be one of the least productive traits of economic development. Within Wisconsin, a handful of us are talking about this initiative:

    http://www.lacrossetribune.com/artic...iness/1biz.txt

    Does anyone else know of instances of "non-compete" agreements or similar efforts to discourage bidding wars?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Check with Marcia Tuesch to see what's going on in Washington County. I don't think they have a formal Agreement, but I recall from my Hartford days that there was a tacit understanding that the municipalities 1) wanted new businesss in their locale, but 2) if not in my community at least help them land in another close by.

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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    How about intra provincial (each with the population of a mid sized city), Manitoba and NB have agreed not to compete against one another for the call centre market. If I can find a link, I'll post it, this was announced about 2 years ago.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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    In the Chicago area there are groups of suburbs that on the surface work together. The West Suburban Municipal Conference, Northwest Municipal Network, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association -- they and others all work to represent their part of Chicagoland. However, I don't believe any of these groups would have a no-competition agreement as it relates to economic development.

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    Member japrovo's avatar
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    Portland has had some suprisingly successful cooperation. I say suprising in that they've managed to share "leads" and avoid "poaching" through very informal arrangements with almost nothing in writing. The casual group just incorporated after close to 20 years of working together. At the same time, economic development has also been held at arms length from the other mechanisms for regional cooperation we tend to get written up for. As to formal arrangements I don't have a referrence at my finger tips but I recall that NY and NJ had a formal compact that did not last perhaps in the 80s?

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I was sent a copy of this agreement. So far it is the only one of its type that I have encountered. I would be very interested in hearing of more.

    The undersigned agree that during the initial contact with businesses that may be considering a relocation from one county to another county within the Southeastern Wisconsin Region, the county receiving the inquiry for relocation assistance will inform representatives of the business establishment that there is an understanding among Southeastern Wisconsin counties relative to business relocations. This understanding states that the county receiving the inquiry for relocation assistance will inform the appropriate staff of the county in which the business is located of the name of the business that is considering the relocation following the initial contact, provided that this information does not violate a confidentiality request by the business.

    In addition, the undersigned agree not to aggressively seek businesses already located within the State of Wisconsin and to encourage communities within their respective counties to participate in this cooperative effort. While print advertisements within the state are part of maintaining a pro-business climate, direct-mail marketing, telemarketing, and cold call visits to firms within Wisconsin will not be practiced.

  7. #7
    Member japrovo's avatar
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    a regional angle?

    Another way to think about this might be to consider where the marketing function is externalized to some sort of regional partnership.

    I worked for one in Virginia (www.grpva.com) that involved public and private funding and articles of incorporation that spelled out the responsibilities. One thing they did was to serve as the front door for the region and feed leads to the local ed staffs. Of course this didn't mean that there weren't occasions when jurisdictions questioned their return on investment in terms of leads but it was something.

    There was a recent article in an academic journal (Olberding, JC. 2002. "A Study of Regional Partnership in Economic Development." Economic Development Quarterly, v16:3) documenting the exploding number of these partnerships (4x increase from 70s to 90s). Marketing was a major activity for most groups. The appendix documents 133 partnerships that were surveyed and gives some information on their structure that may be of interest.

    At the same time, the Portland situation I'm currently researching involved essentially a handshake among jurisdictions for almost 20 years, just incorporating this year. As near as I can figure an up front focus on retention over recruitment, the role of some explicitly regional business leadership and some close personal relationships across jurisdictions appear to be some of the reasons they held together. If anyone has had a similar experience with economic development either short or long term I would be interested in hearing about it.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    For the first time that I can remember, the agreement between seven Southeastern Wisconsin counties has been brought up in public discussion. Roundys, a grocery chain and food wholesaler, has been headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of Pewaukee, in Waukesha county. They have recently announced that they will be moving to downtown Milwaukee, transferring 200 employees from Pewaukee, 50 from another site in Milwaukee, and some more from the suburb of Wauwatosa.

    (FYI, not every city and county in Wisconsin has "wau" in its name. However, they are required to begin with "M" or "W", or to end in a vowel.)

    Here is the problem. The City of Milwaukee has promised a $300,000 grant (funded through TIF) and a loan of $3 million to Roundy's to help with the move. Waukesha County officials were never informed of Roundy's intentions until the deal was announced last week.

    Granted, not all of the details are available. But in the light of what is known, has Milwaukee kept to the principles of the agreement (refer back a couple of posts for the text)?

  9. #9
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    Seems to me the agreement was unenforceable. In game-theory terms, both parties had an incentive to defect.

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