“There are thought leaders all around the world on the topic of great urban places,” said Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, an uptown economic development agency.
For insight, Smith likes to read “fresh thinking” on urban development. But he also draws inspiration from a book published decades ago.
Smith said that when he first came into his current job, one of the first books given to him was “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” by Jane Jacobs. In the book, published in 1961, Jacobs writes about the importance of building walkable cities and the impact that good design has on advancing communities. “Among urbanists, folks point to her as the prophet,” Smith said.
Through his service on the board of the International Downtown Association, Smith learned about “The Coming Jobs War” by Jim Clifton, CEO of the polling organization Gallup.
The topic is also relevant to how cities will take shape, Smith said, as they compete to retain talent and lure jobs. “It’s a look, obviously, at demographics, and what’s about to happen as far as competition for talent.” Celeste Smith
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