Metropolitan areas are essential to the nation’s economic development and act as the focal point of vital urban economic activity such as the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. The congregation of infrastructures, utilities, households, business, and industries in metro areas create distinctive economic conditions, increase productivity and promote economic activities. Metropolitan areas offer new industries pivotal amenities that include a diverse and adequate supply of labor, access to national and international markets, financial and physical capital, and a local base of technical knowledge that are attractive to both households and businesses. Kansas City, Missouri has been rapidly developing into a metropolis that fits this description.
In order to understand the changes in the structure of economic activity, it is important to perceive the form, causes, and consequences of urban spatial forms. One must also understand the primary driving forces of economic activity and the link between metropolitan spatial structure and economic growth in contemporary US metropolitan areas and regions.
The current business landscape is abuzz with high tech and innovative entrepreneurial startups that disrupt conventional business models, while still operating under strong economic theory. This is especially true in Kansas City. Business accelerators and incubators, such as SparkLab KC and ThinkBig Partners are located around the city and have led to key entrepreneurial developments for the area. Kansas City has been ranked as one of the best cities for entrepreneurship in the U.S. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kansas City is a hub where information technology entrepreneurship can garner significant attention from investors, thanks to the recent startup successes. With Google Fiber, Cerner and Sprint, the city and its adjoining areas also have research centers like the Regnier Institute for Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the UMKC Business School, and the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program at Rockhurst University. The preeminent foundation of entrepreneurial activities, the Kauffman Foundation is also based in Kansas City.
Incentives such as telecommunications advances, lower property and energy prices and taxes, proximity to labor markets and airports, newer infrastructure, municipal tax incentives, and high quality schools are offered to companies who move to the periphery. Cerner has received various tax credits to help them grow their operations in the region.
Local-level policy makers control most of the tax, transportation and urban development planning in the region, and their efforts significantly influence the area's economic activity. More activity leads to more consumption, which leads to more growth and more investments. Companies can then hire more skilled labor and expand operations into new markets. This leads to greater margins, added jobs, and better share values. This allows companies to expand the public sector's tax base and invest back into the communities and educational resources that created their skilled labor base in the first place. More companies can be incentivized to locate or start new operations in specific areas of a city, while the same mechanisms can lead to higher amounts of enterprises and ventures being started up in a city known for its entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and start-ups.
So what should the role of the different levels of community players be in popularizing the entrepreneurial mindset? What are some other factors that can help or hurt this trend, either directly or indirectly? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Credits: Data linked to sources. Images by Martin Seliger.