Resources for Industrial Cities Initiative (ICI)

The Community Development and Policy Studies Division created the Industrial Cities Initiative to gain a better understanding of the economic, demographic and social trends shaping industrial cities in the Midwest.

About the ICI

The loss of manufacturing jobs has shaped the Midwest urban landscape for more than a half-century. However, just as most cities have lost manufacturing jobs to a greater or lesser degree, most are working – with more or less success – to offer a higher quality of life to their residents while striving to make these communities more resilient to social and economic changes.

The effort to improve the economic and social well-being of these cities and their residents occurs in an environment shaped by macroeconomic forces, state and national policies, and the dynamic relationship of city and region.

Within this context, the ICI was motivated by questions about why some Midwest towns and cities outperform other cities with comparable histories and manufacturing legacies. And, can "successful" economic development strategies implemented in "higher-performing cities" be replicated in ‘underperforming cities?’

In order to explore responses to these questions, the ICI:

  • Has profiled the trends and experiences of ten midwestern cities individually, in comparison to peers, and in comparison to their home states and the nation. Read more …
  • Makes available research and working papers related to the topic of industrial cities. Read more …
  • Presents findings and convenes discussions with leadership in the ten profiled – as well as other – midwestern cities to discuss initiatives and strategies for future planning. Read more ...

Updates to the ICI project will be posted on this page, as well as highlighted in the CDPS blog.

Profiles

This page will include the Profiles Summary and a list of links to the profiles and additional sections.

Full Report

The full ICI report, including the Summary of Findings, ten profiles and all appendices available for download. Read more...

Summary of Findings

Data and anecdotes yield key themes based on the varied histories and experiences of the ten ICI cities. This Summary of Findings presents those themes, expands on the motivation for the Initiative and presents some conclusions and next steps. Read more...

Aurora, IL Profile

Aurora, Illinois, is the state’s second largest city and is located approximately 40 miles west of Chicago in an area known as the Fox Valley. The city is surrounded by expressways, and served by commuter rail, O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. Read more...

Cedar Rapids, IA Profile

Cedar Rapids is located in eastern Iowa with a population over 126,000 in 2010, making it the second largest city in the state after Des Moines. The city is bisected by the Cedar River. Cedar Rapids is the seat of Linn County, which had a population of 211,226 in 2010. Read more...

Fort Wayne, IN Profile

At the confluence of the St. Mary’s, the Maumee, and the St. Joseph rivers, construction of the Wabash and Erie Canal was the first of several waves of economic development that, over the years, has helped Fort Wayne grow into the second largest city in Indiana. Read more...

Gary, IN Profile

Gary is a city in Northwest Indiana, situated on the southern shores of Lake Michigan. Gary is located approximately 24 miles southeast from downtown Chicago. A commuter rail line links the downtowns of the two cities. Read more...

Grand Rapids, MI Profile

Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan with a population of 188,040. It is the county seat of Kent County, and the hub of an eight-county region of approximately 1.5 million people in Western Michigan. Read more...

Green Bay, WI Profile

Green Bay is the oldest settlement in Wisconsin.1 Situated in Brown County in Northeast Wisconsin, some see Green Bay as the northern-most point of the Gary-Chicago-Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee-Green Bay manufacturing corridor on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Read more...

Joliet, IL Profile

Joliet, Illinois, is located approximately 35 miles southwest of the city of Chicago. Joliet is the county seat of Will County, Illinois. It remains an industrial city, where 15 percent of employment involves either the creation or movement of goods. Read more...

Pontiac, MI Profile

The story of Pontiac’s transition to a post-industrial economy is illustrative of a number of other cities in Michigan. As the auto industry evolved, Pontiac lost both jobs and companies (both assembly plants and suppliers). Read more...

Racine, WI Profile

Racine, the county seat of Racine County, is located in Eastern Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. It is 60 miles north of Chicago, and 23 miles south of Milwaukee and is part of a regional market that extends from Gary, Indiana, through Chicago to Milwaukee. Read more...

Waterloo, IA Profile

Waterloo is located in the eastern third of Iowa on the Cedar River. Waterloo is the county seat of Black Hawk County and is part of the Waterloo- Cedar Falls, Iowa, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which consists of Black Hawk, Bremer, and Grundy counties. Read more...

Appendix A

Appendix A: Overview of key data sources and compilation methods. Read more...

Appendix B

Appendix B: Fact sheets. Read more...

Appendix C

Appendix C: Glossary. Read more...

Appendix D

Appendix D: Interviewee list. Read more...

Articles and Papers

Following are papers and publications from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, as well as other Reserve Banks, that examine issues endemic to older, generally smaller, cities.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Exploring the Correlations between Health and Community Socioeconomic Status in Chicago by Susan Longworth, ProfitWise News and Views, Summer 2014

Is Manufacturing Destiny for Midwest Industrial Cities? Presented by William Testa on February 28,2012

Economic Recovery: State of Manufacturing Presented by William Strauss on July 25,2012

Dealing with the Impact of Manufacturing Job Losses by Emily Engel and Susan Longworth, Chicago Fed Letter, May 2012, No. 298a

Industrial Cities Initiative Symposium Summary by Emily Engel and Susan Longworth, ProfitWise News and Views, August 2012

Why Are Manufacturers Struggling to Hire High-Skilled Workers? by Britton Lombardi and William Testa, Chicago Fed Letter, August 2011, No. 289

Manufacturing Plants' Use of Temporary Workers: An Analysis Using Census Micro Data by Yukako Ono and Daniel G. Sullivan, Working Paper, Revised February 2010

Midwest Manufacturing Project - Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Housing Policy and Poverty in Springfield by Lynn E. Browne, Community Development Discussion Paper, February 2011, No. 2011-01

Does Springfield Receive Its Fair Share of Municipal Aid? Implications for Aid Formula Reform in Massachusetts by Bo Zhao, Community Development Discussion Paper, July 2010, No. 2010-02

Toward a More Prosperous Springfield: A Look at the Barriers to Employment from the Perspective of Residents and Supporting Organizations by DeAnna Green and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Springfield Project Team – Marques Benton, Lynn Browne, Prabal Chakrabarti, Yolanda Kodrzycki, Ana Patricia Mun~oz, Richard Walker, Bo Zhao, Community Development Discussion Paper, June 2010, No. 2010-01

Jobs in Springfield, Massachusetts: Understanding and Remedying the Causes of Low Resident Employment Rates by Yolanda Kodrzycki and Ana Patricia Mun~oz with Lynn Browne, DeAnna Green, Marques Benton, Prabal Chakrabarti, Richard Walker, and Bo Zhao, Community Affairs Discussion Paper, February 8, 2010, No. 2009-05

Greater Springfield Employment Challenges: Findings of Employer Survey and Interviews by David Plasse and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Springfield Project Team – Marques Benton, Lynn Browne, Prabal Chakrabarti, DeAnna Green, Yolanda Kodrzycki, Ana Patricia Mun~oz, Richard Walker, Bo Zhao, Community Affairs Discussion Paper, November 2009, No. 2009-04

Reinvigorating Springfield’s Economy: Lessons from Resurgent Cities by Yolanda K. Kodrzycki and Ana Patricia Mun~oz with Lynn Browne, DeAnna Green, Marques Benton, Prabal Chakrabarti, David Plasse, Richard Walker, and Bo Zhao, Community Affairs Discussion Paper, August 2009, No. 2009-03

Towards a More Prosperous Springfield, MA: What Jobs Exist for People without a College Education? by Lynn E. Browne and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Springfield Team – Marques Benton, Prabal Chakrabarti, DeAnna Green, Yolanda Kodrzycki, Ana Patricia Mun~oz, David Plasse, Richard Walker, Bo Zhao, Community Affairs Discussion Paper, August 2009, No. 2009-02

Towards a More Prosperous Springfield, Massachusetts: Project Introduction and Motivation Lynn Browne, DeAnna Green, with Marques Benton, Prabal Chakrabarti, Yolanda Kodrzycki, Ana Patricia Mun~oz, David Plasse, and Richard Walker, Community Affairs Discussion Paper, August 2009, No. 2009-01

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Manufacturing and Pollution: Trends in Old and New Industrial Centers by Matthew Klesta and Francisca Richter, A Look Behind the Numbers, Fall 2011

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Revitalizing American Cities Edited by Susan M. Wachter and Kimberly A. Zeuli

In Philadelphia’s Shadow: Small Cities in the Third Federal Reserve District by Alan Mallach, May 2012

Blogs

The Community Development and Policy Studies division regularly posts blogs relating to ongoing projects. Cited below are blogs that have either featured the ICI directly or that discuss closely associated topics. Brief blogs about each of the profiled cities can be found at the bottom of this page.

ICI and Related Blogs

Industrial Cities Initiative Profiled in New Report by Jeremiah Boyle and Emily Engel posted on June 12, 2014

Manufacturing as Midwest Destiny by Bill Testa posted on February 3, 2011

Industrial Cities Initiative (ICI) by Emily Engel posted on October 18, 2011

ICI Cities by the Numbers by Emily Engel posted on January 10, 2012

Industrial Cities Initiative Symposium Summary by Emily Engel and Susan Longworth posted on March 27, 2012

Manufacturing as Destiny, Part II by Bill Testa posted on April 18, 2012

Connecting Communities—Smaller Cities that Think Big: Lessons from Resurgent and Transforming Cities by Emily Engel posted on May 17, 2012

Industrial Tour of Northwest Indiana by Helen Mirza posted on December 12, 2012

Federal Agencies Align to Support Regional Growth by Susan Longworth posted on December 20, 2012

Community Colleges and Industry: How Partnerships Address the Skills Gap by Emily Engel posted on December 16, 2013

ICI Profile Blogs

Aurora by Emily Engel posted on November 2, 2011

Cedar Rapids by Jason Keller posted on December 2, 2011

Fort Wayne by Emily Engel posted on May 31, 2012

Gary by Emily Engel posted on February 8, 2012

Green Bay by Emily Engel posted on January 18, 2013

Grand Rapids by Desiree Hatcher posted on May 3, 2012

Joliet by Susan Longworth posted on November 14, 2011

Pontiac by Desiree Hatcher posted on March 15, 2012

Racine by Emily Engel and Steven Kuehl posted on July 17, 2012

Waterloo by Jason Keller posted on April 12, 2012

Events

Past Events

Reinventing Older Communities: Bridging Growth & Opportunity on May 12–14, 2014, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and its cosponsors hosted community development innovators and leaders to the sixth biennial Reinventing Older Communities conference. This year’s theme was Bridging Growth & Opportunity. Speaker presentations and other resources will be posted to the Reinventing Older Communities web site.

Industrial Cities Initiative Symposium on February 28, 2012, this conference identified policies and programs that promote (or inhibit) economic growth and vitality in industrial cities.

ICI in the News

Below is a compilation of recent news coverage of the Industrial Cities Initiative.

Radio Interviews

Fed Plan Lays Out Roadmap For Small Midwest Cities Including Gary, Northwest Indiana, Lake Shore Public Radio, June 4, 2014

A Look At How Midwestern Manufacturing Cities Are Doing, Wisconsin Public Radio, May 22, 2014

Doug Wagner's Whats Happening? 5-21-2014 Hour 1 (starts at 26:00), WMT-AM, Iowa, May 21, 2014

TV Interviews

Cedar Rapids Manufacturing Jobs, KCRG-IOW (ABC) 5/20/2014 5:00:35 PM

Lessons For Rockford In Federal Reserve's 'Industrial Cities Initiative', WIFR-Rockford, NBC affiliate, June 26, 2014

Community Learning Series: Transform Rockford, WTVO (ABC) June 27, 2014 5:06:25 AM

Transform Rockford, WQRF (FOX) June 27, 2014 8:06:45 AM

Making Economic Rebound: Transform Rockford, WIFR (CBS) June 26, 2014 5:10:04 PM

Newspaper/Print coverage

Reinvention in the Rust Belt, The Economist July 11, 2015

Fed researcher to discuss what Rockford can learn from other struggling manufacturing towns, Rockford Register Star June 15, 2014

Chicago Federal Reserve economist to share insight on turning manufacturing-based cities around, Rock River Times June 26, 2014