After decades of economic and social despair that once saw it named the poorest big city in America, Cleveland has become a model of revitalization, thanks to a unique “anchor strategy” that harnesses the immense wealth and power of the city’s public institutions.
Now, Toronto is taking a hard look at how the Comeback City’s done it.
If you’ve ever imagined a worst-case scenario for Toronto, it probably looks something like this: a burst housing bubble, massive job losses, crumbling roads, rapid economic decline and spiraling inequality.
That’s the nightmare that Cleveland has already lived in spectacular style.
The silver lining? It survived, thanks in part to an ambitious undertaking known as the anchor mission, which harnesses the massive spending power of a city’s so-called “anchor” institutions, such as universities and hospitals, to keep business and opportunity closer to home.
Think of it as a live, buy and hire local project on a grand scale. The strategy has been so successful at reviving the Rust Belt town, now affectionately known as Comeback City, that Toronto is taking notice.