Up To Speed

Ohio’s 3Cs boast a larger economy than all of Denmark

Ohio’s 3Cs boast a larger economy than all of Denmark.

It turns out that while China has been gaining ground, it still has a long way to go to catch up with America’s economic prowess. In fact, recent numbers show that the 30 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, alone, have a higher GDP than China. When looking at Ohio, Cincinnati, Columbus Cleveland ($320 billion) tally a combined GDP just higher than Denmark ($314 billion) and just lower than the United Arab Emirates ($359 billion). More from Business Journals:

A recent Pew Research Center survey of 38,000 people in 39 nations found widespread expectations that China will soon surpass the United States. Respondents in just six of those 39 countries are still placing their bets on the U.S. The current numbers, however, suggest something different.

China’s total output of goods and services, better known as its gross domestic product (GDP), climbed to an impressive $8.23 trillion last year, according to the latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund. But the United States is still far in the lead with GDP of $15.68 trillion, roughly 90 percent higher than China’s total.

Up To Speed

Atlanta aims to capitalize on shifting global trade patterns with new export plan

Atlanta aims to capitalize on shifting global trade patterns with new export plan.

The City of Atlanta has launched a new regional plan for growing exports. The plan is seen as a critical step to help continue growth in the nation’s 13th largest metropolitan region, and aims to capitalize on shifting global trade patterns. More from Brookings:

By 2012, a majority of the 50 top performing metropolitan economies worldwide were in developing Asia-Pacific countries. U.S. metros must take advantage of growing demand abroad by developing export and engagement strategies that build on their special assets in the global economy.

The region has already taken the first step. Two weeks ago, Mayor Kasim Reed announced the launch of an Atlanta Metropolitan Export Plan that will be developed in collaboration with some of the region’s key business, political, university and non-profit leaders. The next step will be to conduct a market assessment of regional industries, identify the metro’s strengths and weaknesses, and determine what policies and investments are necessary to grow exports.

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The sky-high cost of China’s sprawling cities

The sky-high cost of China’s sprawling cities.

The growth of China’s urbanized population is truly staggering. But what might be more unique than that is that Chinese cities have been able to learn from the successes and mistakes made in already developed cities in Europe and North America. The problem, however, is that is appears that almost all of the Chinese cities have ignored those lessons. More from the Financial Times:

Pictures of towering skylines in cities that few outsiders have heard of – from Anshan to Zhengzhou – seem to suggest that China’s urban future will not just be big. It will also be a model of sleek modern efficiency. The reality is, more often than not, disappointing. Many Chinese cities are drab facsimiles of each other, beset by clogged roads, dirty air, hastily built apartment blocks, monolithic government buildings and few green spaces.

The real concern is that when the sprawling cities fill up, they will offer a substandard quality of life that will make for a divided society and an economy that fails to deliver on its promise. China still has time to shift its policies to create happier, more productive cities. But the window is beginning to close.

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Birmingham, Salt Lake City continue to struggle with air quality

Birmingham, Salt Lake City continue to struggle with air quality.

The recent coverage of the air quality problems in Chinese cities has been well documented, but how has the U.S. improved since its industrial revolution? Well, while many American cities have made massive strides, others are still struggling to get past the cloud of pollution that once hung over them. More from Next City:

In the nearly five years since, the air in China’s capital city has returned to dangerous pre-2008 levels. The New York Times reported that recent readings from the U.S. embassy indicate air pollutant levels there have climbed as high as 755 on the Air Quality Index. The Index, based on the standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, usually tops out at 500. The World Health Organization considers a score of 500 to be more than 20 times above safe levels.

In the U.S., several cities have had similar struggles with air quality. Under the Clean Air Act, Birmingham, Alabama and Salt Lake City, Utah have both been found to be in repeated violation of the EPA’s air quality standards. But of the two cities, only Birmingham has been able to eventually meet the standards.