Urban Research Monitor
Infrastructure Investment and Stadium Building

Cautionary Notes, for the most part, warns against grand-scale approaches to making cities more competitive and stimulating business development. For example, analyses of studies on the relationship between infrastructure investment and economic growth “provide fairly persuasive evidence that infrastructure investment is not likely to be the wholesale solution to languishing cities across America.” Schwartz and Ellen are equally skeptical about the economic benefits from building stadiums, convention centers, entertainment districts, and festival malls. In the case of stadiums, they refer to conclusions from three recent studies indicating no significant impact of sports stadiums on either cities or their metropolitan areas—not even on the immediate neighborhoods in which the stadiums are located.

In summary, Schwartz and Ellen find no silver bullets. What works in one place will not necessarily work in another, and cities must conduct their own analyses if they are going to figure out the most effective mix of revitalization strategies for their own circumstances.

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