Transforming Industrial Heartlands Initiative
About the Initiative
Once the foundation of the middle class on both sides of the Atlantic, industrial regions have undergone significant economic restructuring over the past several decades, leading to fractured communities and the rise of populist politics.
Partner organizations in North America and Europe continue to build and convene around ongoing work aimed at animating policies, practices, and strategies that can foster economic and community development in these industrial regions.
Rebuilding communities and fostering new economic opportunities will do much to ameliorate feelings of alienation and economic anxiety, factors that contribute to the polarizing politics and anti-democratic movements that threaten the stability and promise of Western democracies.
This initiative is a partnership of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Georgetown University’s BMW Center for German and European Studies, the Michigan Economic Center, Policy@Manchester at the University of Manchester, the Ruhr-Konferenz, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago, and the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission.
Former Fellow & Director of Global Cities Research
BMW Center for German and European Studies, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Jeffrey Anderson, Professor
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Chicago
Wolfgang Mössinger, Consul General
Michigan Economic Center
John Austin, Director
Policy@Manchester, University of Manchester
Andrew Westwood, Vice Dean for Social Responsibility
Research Alliance Ruhr
Jürgen Hein, Managing Director
Catch expert analysis and share space with others invested in renewing our industrial regions. Stream previous conversations or register for upcoming exchanges of ideas.
Learn more about the initiative during events from project partners and other affiliates. Register or see past event video using the links below.
Das Progressive Zentrum Conference
Oct 12 - 13, 2022
Read the full reports from partners working to provide solutions informed by the initiative. Research is based on learnings from federal, state, and local leaders, policymakers, and economic practitioners from Europe and North America.
Interviews with Practitioners
Hear firsthand from leaders in the field about their experiences in industrialized communities. Their regions offer lessons and new ideas in building sustainable economic recovery.
Donald Carter, a senior research fellow for the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, speaks on planning for change.
Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, discusses sharing models for change.
Learn more about local and regional strategies to build sustainable economic recovery through the following interviews with members of the project network. Each clip linked below touches on key policies and economic development approaches employed in industrial regions in both North America and Europe.
Ben Speggen - Vice President, Jefferson Educational Society
Donald Carter - Senior Research Fellow, Remaking Cities Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
George Heartwell - Former Mayor, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grant Ervin - Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pittsburgh
Jay Byers - CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Julia Taylor - President, Greater Milwaukee Committee
Keith Ridgway - Professor, University of Strathclyde
Rosalynn Bliss - Mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Drew Dilkens - Mayor of Windsor, Ontario
Pascal Ledune - Hagedorn Group
Sarah Wayland - Senior Project Manager, Immigration Partnership, City of Hamilton
Sebastian Slecht - City of Essen, Germany
Steve Tobocman - Executive Director, Global Detroit
Thomas Kufen - Mayor of Essen, Germany
Thorsten Wiechmann - Professor, Technische Universität Dortmund
Commentary and Analysis
Project partners sound off in the press, public engagements, and original writings about revamping industrial regions. Listen as they weigh in on podcasts and broadcast media and check out the list of notable mentions of the initiative.
Writings by Project Partners
- Democracy Needs a New Sales Pitch
- Transatlantic Idea-Sharing Can Lead to Just Economic Future
- Western Pennsylvania, USA and Germany’s Ruhr: A Transatlantic Dialogue on Making and Managing Economic Transition
- Paths to New Prosperity and a Better Politics in Our Democracies
- Paths to New Prosperity and a Better Politics Heartland Regions
- Podcast: Reimagining the Postindustrial Economy
- The Silver Lining of Biden's 'New Protectionism'
- From "Rust Belt" to "Trust Belt": Why the Language we Use Matters
- The Return of Industrial Strategy: Why the US and Europe Need to Renew Heartland Communities
- Policies for Places as Well as People
- Transforming the Industrial Heartlands: a Transatlantic Initiative
- Post-Industrial Regions and the French Presidential Election
- New Paths to Heartland Prosperity Can Change Our Politics
- How to (Finally) Defeat Populism
- It's the Respect (and Good Policies), Stupid
- Healing America’s Fractured Politics Starts in the Industrial Heartland
- Can broadband bridge our economic and political divides?
- How Democrats can rebuild their 'blue wall' in the Midwest
- Transforming Industrial Heartland Communities - and Healing Our Fractured Politics
- The System That Sent Billionaires to Space Could Fall Apart Without Their Help
- Regional Inequality Looms as Pressing Threat to Democracy
- To counter extreme politics, revive global democracies’ Rust Belts
- How to (Finally) Defeat Populism
- Where Midwesterners struggle, Trumpism lives on
- What Trump Showed Us About America
- Deliver for the Heartland, Help Close the Divide | Opinion
- Op-ed: We need investment in human infrastructure, too
Podcasts, Radio, and Media Interviews
- How Can Democrats Regain Their Foothold in the Midwest?: With Guest John Austin
- How employee owned businesses flourished during the pandemic and continue to grow in popularity
- Midwest Economic Expert Calls Economic Development In Industrial Communities 'An Urgent Job'
- Fighting Populism in Industrial Regions: A Transatlantic Approach
- Towards a Newly Vital Midwest with John Austin
- Happy Dog Takes on the World: Why Rust Belts Matter Around the World 4.6.2021
External Media Mentions
External Commentary and Research
View other commentary and research on the challenges and opportunities of regional economic transformation.