The recent series of tornados and floods in America has severely damaged many communities, from the Midwest to the South, and left them with enormous rebuilding tasks. Amy Glasmeier, head of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, is a leading expert on regional and local economies in the United States, and on regional economic planning. MIT News spoke to her about the reconstruction challenges that lie ahead.Q. Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., have both suffered catastrophic tornado damage this spring. These two cities have different economic histories: Joplin has been a mining hub, while Tuscaloosa has had a more diversified economy and a major university. Still, beyond the immediate, visible aspects of these tragedies, what are the common long-term dangers these cities face, in terms of sustaining economic activity?A. Economic problems will emerge to the extent that the local economy is tied to trade and transportation. If the infrastructure...
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