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From the May Issue


World Reports

Quick stories update you on the new “Solidarity Transport Hub” near Warsaw, Poland; POSCO’s lithium plant in Argentina; an expansion by Mercedes in Stuttgart; Ferrotec’s semiconductor fab in Malaysia; and prospects for increased global FDI flows.

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From the September Issue


How Wisconsin Is Tackling the Labor Shortage

Talent attraction efforts receive a big boost in the Badger State.

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The New York Times earlier this week alerted many to the release last week of Up For Growth’s report on state and metro housing shortages. The organization makes available its full data set covering housing unit production in every state plus D.C. and in 302 metro areas every year from 2012 through 2019. Among the things you can glean from the data:

California was No. 1 in underproduction in 2019, with a deficit of 977,654 units representing 6.8%% of total units in existence. More surprising: Since 2012 (when that percentage was a mere 3.9%, also No. 1), the state’s overall number of units has increased by only 658,815 units.

Following California in underproduction by percentage of total units are Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Washington, followed by Washington, D.C.; Arizona; Minnesota; New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Leading all metro areas in housing unit underproduction is the booming EV battery capital of Gainesville, Georgia, north of Atlanta along I-85. Below are the entire “top” 10 in underproduction, followed by the “bottom 10.” Look and see how many of these communities show up in our annual Top Metros and Top Micropolitan areas rankings.-Adam Bruns

Highest in Housing Unit Underproduction as Percent of Overall Units

# Metro Percent
1. Gainesville, GA 11.6
2. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 10.9
3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 10.4
4. Salem, OR 10.3
5. Laredo, TX 9.9
6. Merced, CA 8.7
7. Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 8.6
8. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 8.4
9. Bend, OR 8.2
10. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 8.1

Lowest in Housing Unit Underproduction as Percent of Overall Units

# Metro Percent
1. Ocean City, NJ -13.2
2. Lawton, OK -12
3. Manhattan, KS -11.7
4. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL -10.1
5. Champaign-Urbana, IL -8.4
6. Jacksonville, NC -8.3
7. Longview, TX -8.2
8. Greenville, NC -7.7
Monroe, LA -7.7
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL -7.7




Mighty Nice Mississippi

Views of the Magnolia State from Natchez to Noxubee to Clarksdale.

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As the Brookings Institution’s Mark Muro recently pointed out, the newly passed CHIPS Act is about a lot more than just chips. (For more, watch for his insights on Texas in the September issue of Site Selection.). He points to a particular passage in the bill that calls for “the Department of Commerce to create 20 geographically distributed ‘regional technology and innovation hubs’ in areas that are not leading technology centers. These hubs will focus on technology development, job creation, and expanding U.S. innovation capacity. The provision authorizes $10 billion for the program from Fiscal Year 2023 through Fiscal Year 2027 and directs the Secretary to designate at least three new ‘hubs’ [why the quotation marks?] in each of the Economic Development Administration’s six regions.” It also authorizes $1 billion as part of establishing the “Recompete Pilot Program” to support persistently distressed communities, which Muro tells me reflects Brookings Metro’s work, in this case by Tim Bartik of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. “In addition, the bill authorizes a Regional Clean Energy Innovation Program at the Department of Energy to promote economic development in diverse geographic areas through clean energy innovation,” Muro continues. “Beyond that, the legislation authorizes over $2 billion for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership to support innovation in the manufacturing sector and calls for more than $800 million to expand the Manufacturing USA network of regional technology institutes,” much as the Association of University Research Parks’ Brian Darmody argued in the July issue of Site Selection.




Ningde, China–based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) last week announced this investment to build a 100 GWh battery plant in Debrecen in eastern Hungary, the company’s second battery plant in Europe following its German plant about to open at the Erfurter Kreuz industrial area in Amt Wachsenburg, Thuringia. “Covering an area of 221 hectares [546 acres] in the Southern Industrial Park of Debrecen, the project will supply both cells and modules to European automakers,” the company said. “Debrecen is located at the heart of Europe, and with close proximity to some auto plants of its customers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Stellantis and Volkswagen, CATL's Debrecen plant will enable it to better cope with the battery demands of the European market, improve its global production network development, and help accelerate e-mobility and energy transition in Europe.” There could be more investments to come: “To build a sustainable and circular battery value chain,” the company said, “CATL is also examining the possibility of joining forces with local partners to establish facilities for battery materials in Europe.”

Source: Conway Projects Report


On the same day as the announcement above, Hyundai Motor Group announced the launch of Boston Dynamics AI Institute in the Kendall Square area of Cambridge. “As a research-first organization, the Institute will work on solving the most important and difficult challenges facing the creation of advanced robots,” the companies said. “Elite talent across AI, robotics, computing, machine learning and engineering will develop technology for robots and use it to advance their capabilities and usefulness. The Institute's culture is designed to combine the best features of university research labs with those of corporate development labs while working in four core technical areas: cognitive AI, athletic AI, organic hardware design as well as ethics and policy.” The Institute plans to hire AI and robotics researchers, software and hardware engineers, and technicians at all levels.

Source: Conway Projects Report



Photo by Wolfgang Volz© 1991 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation

At sunrise on October 9, 1991, Christo and Jeanne-Claude's 1,880 workers began to open 3,100 umbrellas in the Prefecture of Ibaraki in Japan and in California on the properties of Tejon Ranch, 25 private landowners and governmental agencies along I-5 and the Tejon Pass. For “The Umbrellas,” a project seven years in the making, 11 manufacturers in Japan, USA, Germany and Canada prepared the various elements, says the artists’ website. “All 3,100 umbrellas were assembled in Bakersfield, California, from where the 1,340 blue umbrellas were shipped to Japan.”

The $26 million work of art was entirely financed by the artists, who did not accept sponsorship. Removal of the installation started 18 days later on October 27, the land was restored to its original condition and most of the elements were recycled. “In the precious and limited space of Japan, the umbrellas were positioned intimately, close together and sometimes following the geometry of the rice fields. In the luxuriant vegetation enriched by water year round, the umbrellas were blue. In the California vastness of uncultivated grazing land, the configuration of the umbrellas was whimsical and spreading in every direction. The brown hills are covered by blond grass. In that dry landscape, the umbrellas were yellow.” For those 18 days, say the artists, the work was “seen, approached, and enjoyed by the public, either by car from a distance and closer as they bordered the roads, or by walking under ‘The Umbrellas’ in their luminous shadows.”