America’s “Rust Belt”, which was the focus of so much of the recent campaign cycle, is assumed to be in perpetual decline; falling inexorably from a manufacturing and industrial zenith some 60 years ago.
Driving from Pittsburgh to Chicago, it is still easy to see hulking, semi-abandoned foundries and factories littering the way.
But what if much of that decline was, in fact, overblown? That, below the surface, the Rust Belt, for all of its challenges, remains one of the richest regions not just in America but the entire world?
In a look at how wealth is geographically distributed, bestselling author Richard Florida lays out the idea of Mega Regions.
Using a compelling methodology, Florida identifies the richest and most influential areas.
Number one is Greater Tokyo; with the eastern corridor of the U.S. – Boston to Washington DC – a close second.
Firmly in third place is the region from Chicago to Detroit, Cleveland, and down through to Pittsburgh: AKA, the Rust Belt.
If anything, this notion validates that decline is a relative concept.