The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation

Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker. PublicAffairs, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61039-435-2
In their debut work, journalist Bakker and international finance expert van Agtmael team up to show how onetime rust-belt areas in the U.S. and Europe are emerging as new centers for innovation. After observing examples of this phenomenon, they set out to understand it, with the idea that perhaps “making things as smart as possible,” rather than “as cheap as possible,” might be the way of the future. Through extensive travel to places ranging from the SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Nanotech Multiplex in Albany, N.Y., to Akron, Ohio, to Dresden, Germany, to Eindoven, Netherlands, they discovered common themes among these unlikely “brainbelts.” These include innovation sharing between research universities and corporations, physical spaces that encourage collaboration, and environments that attract talent. The authors make a strong case that a renaissance in the development and manufacturing of “chips, new materials, and biosciences” is happening not in tech or major urban centers, but in reclaimed factories and settings like the revitalized American Tobacco Campus in the North Carolina Research Triangle. For anyone looking at trends in technology or manufacturing, or at the future of global business, this insightful work will provide food for thought. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/25/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5113-9452-9
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-61039-816-9
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