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Committing to inclusive growth: Lessons for metro areas from the Inclusive Economic Development Lab

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Nashville is the leading economic success story of the new South, held up by most other mid-sized U.S. metro areas as an aspirational example of what successful economic development looks like. 

Beginning in the late 1990s, the city pulled ahead of a pack of sprawling southern cities, fueled by its specialization in professional and health care services. Newly-acquired professional sports teams and a growing music scene gave the city the varnish of big-city success. Growth skyrocketed, churning out jobs and turning the city into a magnet for skilled workers. Forbes recently ranked it as the top metro area–by far–for creating high-wage professional services jobs. Unemployment is below the national average for every racial group. Today, cranes dot the downtown, old neighborhoods are quickly being redeveloped with high-end housing and retail, and Nashville hot chicken and country music are the province of hipsters around the country.

But that’s only one side of the story.

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