Ed Morrison's blog

Sustainable communities need a different kind of planning: Agile planning

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 06/25/2011 - 17:25.

At the Purdue Center for Regional Development, we are working to evolve more agile planning models under some HUD sustainability and Choice Neighborhood grants. 

So far, this much is clear to me: HUD’s staff is more project or transaction driven, and they have little experience thinking in a longer term strategic or systems context. So, the feds are not likely going to provide much guidance on these new models. 

Second, “logic models” — a primary tool used by the Feds and foundations to evaluate a potential investment — tend to be too simple to capture the complexities of a sustainable economy, which calls for a systems mindset. 

Third, we will need to experiment with new, agile planning approaches, because the traditional, linear planning models are inadequate for building sustainable communities. They are too liner, slow, inflexible and costly. 
The challenge we face involves developing agile, open processes that are guided by experienced collaborative leaders. Balancing open participation and leadership guidance seems to me to be at the heart of what we need to do. 
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Why a casino won't save Cleveland

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sun, 11/15/2009 - 15:50.

From William Thompson, a professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and an expert on the casino business:

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A new strategy for Cleveland

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sun, 07/19/2009 - 11:21.


Cross-posted in Brewed Fresh Daily

The evidence is accumulating that Cleveland's economic development strategy does not work very well.

(Here, we are talking about the 5 county Cleveland metro region: Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Medina and Lorain counties: population about 2.1 million.)

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A timid step

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 07/11/2009 - 08:59.

Yesterday, Commissioners Jones and Hagan symbolically voted their colleague, Jimmy Dimora, off the island. With this single act, they are hoping to distance themselves from the culture of corruption that pervades Cuyahoga County.

It's not so easy.

Corruption represents the misuse of public power for private profit. It flourishes with too much room for discretion by public officials combined with too much secrecy.

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Cleveland's plight: No metrics, no clear strategy, no stable civic process

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Tue, 04/14/2009 - 16:59.

Over at Brewed Fresh Daily, a comment by John Polk triggered these thoughts:

Metrics and why we measure.– We are moving from an industrial world that relied on stable, deductive models to a world of networks that relies on continuously shifting inductive models. Our economy exists as a shifting pattern of networks embedded in other networks.

In a world of networks, metrics help us learn “what works”.

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Med Con hallucinations

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Tue, 03/17/2009 - 11:29.

From Jim Nichols' article in the Pee Dee this morning. I put the language into pictures, so we could get a real understanding of the scope of the inflated numbers under the Med Con.


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Can Cleveland shrink creatively?

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 16:36.

Here are some thoughts prompted by a string over at BFD.

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Cleveland's convention kabuki

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 01/24/2009 - 15:40.

 Cross posted in BFD

Cleveland's convention kabuki continues.

Fred Nance got it about right, Cleveland's convention kabuki departed from traditional forms. "It wasn't a well-choreographed play." Ad hochery never is.

But you couldn't beat it for pure spontaneous entertainment.

MMPI and Chris Kennedy swiped Forest City's tablecloth without moving a fork. The move left Nance drying his teeth in front of the cameras commenting on choreography.

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The Keystone Hotel and the Tower City Bailout

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Mon, 12/15/2008 - 21:02.

Over at Map the Mess, I've posted some thoughts on how the Keystone Hotel has emerged as a central feature to the Tower City bailout.

Read more.

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Civic breakdown and its consequences

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sun, 08/10/2008 - 09:30.

Regions with a more open civic process — thicker collaborative networks — are more agile, responsive and competitive. They will learn faster and spot opportunities faster.

In a complex world, transparency and civility become key strategic assets for a simple reason: speed.

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Map the Mess: Using social network analysis to uncover hidden connections

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 06:44.

Reading all the connections coming out in the coverage of the County investigation gets a mind-numbing after a little while.

A group of us are turning to social network software to draw maps of the relationships. The patterns become more clear with a network map. We can start to connect different people and projects". The Juvenile Justice Center, Ameritrust, Med Mart, to name a few.

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Thoughts on the GCP strategy

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 03/01/2008 - 19:14.
About  week ago, Jay Miller from Crain's Cleveland Business sent me an e-mail. He asked three questions about the Greater Cleveland Partnership. In the interests of promoting an open discussion about the activities of Cleveland's chamber of commerce, I reprint my responses to Jay's questions. He started by pointing out the the GCP points to NorTech and BioEnterprise and Team NEO as its economic development strategy.

JM: So I have a three-part question: Do you think those organizations (NorTech and BioEnterprise and Team NEO) are having a reasonable level of success in the areas they focus on?

EM: These organizations are having some success, but their regional impacts are relatively small. These organizations are slowly changing the dynamic of the relatively small footprint around Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.   

Here is the rub. In some sense, you cannot have it both ways. 

The GCP looks at these organizations and says, "Here are Greater Cleveland's economic development organizations". 

The FFEF looks at the same organizations and says "Here are our regional (read 16 county) Northeast Ohio economic development organizations". 

This confusion leads to misunderstanding. By "outsourcing" its economic development responsibilities to these organizations, GCP undercuts the utility of these organizations as neutral regional networks and reinforces the impression (and reality) that these organizations are "Cleveland-centric". 

At the same time, there's good evidence to suggest  that these organizations do not really invest much beyond a relatively narrow footprint around Cleveland. Finally, these organizations are relatively expensive to run, and not very transparent in their operations. No one is quite sure how all this fits together or what success looks like. 
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Wikinomics in Akron

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 11:50.

"WIKINOMICS" How mass collaboration Changes Everything
Don Tapscott to speak at the University of Akron January 10th – Free admission

Don Tapscott, internationally renowned expert on the strategic value and impact of information technology, and author of “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything,” will speak at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall at The University of Akron on Thursday, Jan. 10.

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Message from Mike Dealoia

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 09:23.

I know what your thinking....what the heck does Bizooki on Ideablob all mean? Cool stuff I assure you. It is a call for help from a great local entrepreneur - Andy Tabar. Andy recently launched a cool tech company called Bizooki (www.bizooki.com) and was looking for a fun way to raise some coin for his new venture. Ideablob (www.ideablob.com) is a listing of cool ideas and tries to connect the idea to good advice.

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Thoughts on regionalism in NEO

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 08:24.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Cleveland Public Radio's Dan Moulthrop to discuss Cleveland's efforts to brand the region of Northeast Ohio. I later connected our conversation to some slides.

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Immigration Opportunities...

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Wed, 12/26/2007 - 13:09.

From Richard Herman:

Dear Rustbelt Bloggers:

Thank you (particularly Chris Varley, Ed Morrison, Jim Russell, Norm Roulet) for spreading the word on the proposal for new immigration law that would create “High Skill Immigration Zones” in the most distressed cities in the U.S. Jim (Pittsburgh Diaspora) has re-framed the issue as an opportunity to encourage Rustbelt economic development collaboration around immigration. Voices are now jumping into the fray from Youngstown, Erie, Buffalo, etc.

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New Approaches to Economic Development Strategy

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Wed, 11/21/2007 - 22:56.

Every few months, I get the opportunity to review what I learned by preparing for classes at the Economic Development Institute. For a number of years, I have taught the Advanced Strategy Lab. This class is a four-hour session in which I introduce students (economic development professionals from around the country) to some of the newer thinking in economic development strategy. We spent some of the time working in small groups, as I provide workshop exercises that simulate the strategy sessions in which I frequently participate.

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Markets don't lie

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Tue, 08/14/2007 - 04:54.

The mind boggles.

We now have airplanes flying over Jacobs Field exhorting people not to sign petitions. In the home of the City Club, this is civic debate?

Perhaps we can bring a little market reality to the situation. From this perspective, the petitioners seem, well, rational and responsible... guardians of the public purse.

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A view on the dynamics of downtown development

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 10:25.

From a thread over at BFD:

Serious question for you, Ed: Why, in your opinion, does Cleveland not follow a similar process? I mean the MM/CC, but I also mean Gateway, Rock Hall, Euclid Corridor, Browns Stadium, you know the drill. Why are other cities able to follow a rational planning process while Cleveland lurches from one half-baked scheme to the next? xpMark: You ask a very interesting question. Here's some background on my perspective. Successful downtown development requires two types of strategies. One strategy is led by the public sector. These publicly-led initiatives involve heavy investments in infrastructure. They often include investments in anchor projects like convention centers, stadiums, libraries, and museums.

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Seven Decision-making Principles for Major Redevelopment Projects

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 06/15/2007 - 09:01.

Hunter Morrison recently submitted this note at the request of the Cleveland City Planning Commission.

The City Planning Commission is empowered by the Charter and by the Codified Ordinances to grant or deny permission to demolish, alter or construct buildings in the City’s Public Land Protective District. While, in most cases, the Commission can rely on the advice of its staff and the actions of the Design Review Committee to inform its decisions, in high profile cases, the Commission itself must take the role of primary decision-maker. These cases often involve the demolition of significant buildings, such as the Cuyahoga Building, the Engineers Building, and the Allen Theater.

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Cleveland's 2 Leadership Challenges

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 02/17/2007 - 05:36.

(The substance of this post appeared as a comment on Brewed Fresh Daily.)

In economic development, Cleveland faces two leadership challenges.

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Managing the Hidden Costs of Sprawl

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 02/16/2007 - 10:13.

The substance of this post appears as a comment on Brewed Fresh Daily.

Northeast Ohio is not dealing well with sprawl. A large part of the challenge comes in reconciling different perspectives on a complex issue.

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Sprawl and our need for civic transformation

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Thu, 02/15/2007 - 10:26.

In confronting the challenges of sprawl, my brother Hunter raises some interesting points in his Meet the Blogger interview.

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Economic development coverage in the PD

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 10:02.

This Sunday's PD carried a story about an exciting new polymer center at Case. The story profiled Anne Hiltner, the Center's impressive director. Read more. In the world of economic development, this news is a big deal.

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Sam Miller, Don King and Dubya-a-Rama

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sun, 02/04/2007 - 15:02.

One of the easiest ways to get new visitors to your city is to come up with something really grand.

We have the world's tallest thermometer in Baker, California.

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