Sunday, November 28, 2010

Exports from Colorado: A Bit of Good News?

Colorado, a land locked state with a relatively small manufacturing base, has traditionally been a weak exporter. According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation's report Toward a More Competitive Colorado, the state's ranking in per capita export dollars was 47th, the fourth lowest in the U.S. in 2008 and down from a ranking of 33rd in 2000.

However there are some signs of improvement. The Denver Post recently wrote about a modest recovery in Colorado exports this year and Slate did a business feature profiling the challenges faced by the innovative "clean tech" air conditioning manufacturer Coolerado, based in Denver, that is exporting highly efficient cooling systems to the Middle East and around the world.

Given the weak U.S. economy and the economic growth occurring in developing countries, increasing exports of goods and services is a potential pathway to success for companies in Colorado.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brookings/Leinberger: The Next Real Estate Boom

The Brookings Institutes's Metropolitan Policy Program continually puts out excellent work.
Christoper Leinberger's recent short article, The Next Real Estate Boom, does an insightful job of weaving together a multitude of ideas and trends into an analysis for holistically tackling many of the most vexing economic and public policy questions faced in the United States today. All of the following and more are discussed in an interrelated way:

1) The increasing demand for walkable, transit-oriented, mixed use neighborhoods
2) The current Great Recession and how to get the economy moving forward
3) Global economic competition
4) Global warming and energy policy
5) Transportation policy and infrastructure investments
6) Demographic trends from the Baby Boomers to Generation Y
8) The emergence of Salt Lake City as a potent economic hub with a unique sense of place (an area of notable concern for this blog)
9) Reforming Fannie and Freddie

Thinking about Metro Denver, this article helped reinforce for me the critical importance of finding a way to move ahead with the full FasTracks program to help the region build a successful future.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Carnival Cafe and the history of Natural and Organic Foods in Boulder

I wanted to share an excellent article from the Boulder Weekly by Roger Freed from this August about the Carnival Cafe and the counter-cultural milieu from the 1960s and 1970s in my hometown of Boulder which ultimately incubated a potent regional cluster of wholesale and retail business in the natural and organic foods sectors in the Boulder area. See quote below:

"The Carnival Cafe was a colorful potpourri of enthusiastic alternatives. Vibrant posters papered the walls, and plants possessed corners and overflowed from shelves. A huge, U-shaped , glass display counter dominated the middle of the main dining room and housed hand-made trinkets for sale and whole-grain goodies generous in their size , price and healthy ingredients. The insider name of the bakery section was "the Dateful Bread." Behind the back counter, bangel bedecked girls in tie-dye T-shirts and saris baked next to the long-haired fellows in sandals who were cooking."