A tale of two cities: Designing an Inner City Food Cluster Strategy
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A tale of two cities

Designing an Inner City Food Cluster Strategy

  • KK&P's food industry cluster analysis explored the food business landscapes of Detroit and Boston (CC: Central City; IC: Inner City).
  • KK&P's food industry cluster analysis explored the food business landscapes of Detroit and Boston.

KK&P partnered with the Initiative for the Competitiveness of Inner Cities (ICIC) and NextStreet, a finance and business strategy consultancy, to design and execute a Food Industry Cluster analysis and marketing plan for food sectors in two contrasting cities: Detroit and Boston. The project was awarded to the team through competitive bid by the U. S. Department of Commerce.

In Boston, where land availability is low but incomes are high, research found that innovations are occurring in distribution methods for retail and service sectors, especially in institutional feeding such as colleges and universities.

The team concluded that mayors and city agencies should look closely at existing land, procurement and tax policies and remove unnecessary obstacles to business formation and operation.

Detroit residents have lower incomes, but the city has vastly more unused space and buildings. Not surprisingly, growth in the Detroit food cluster is stronger in the manufacturing, processing and distribution stages. Vacant or under-utilized older spaces are being adapted for small processing and manufacturing plants, incubator space and other uses. Development in these areas has not only created jobs for urban residents but has also stimulated infill development, gradually but noticeably improving the appearance of some neighborhoods.

The team concluded that mayors and city agencies should look closely at existing land, procurement and tax policies and remove unnecessary obstacles to business formation and operation. Ombudsmen for food industry issues should be installed in city halls. Institutions such as universities, hospitals and foundations should reinforce their existing efforts to buy locally and mentor local entrepreneurs. And finally, economic development practitioners should launch a broad-based campaign to educate investors of all types about the resources available and the profit potential within the food cluster.

 

DESIGNING AN INNER CITY FOOD CLUSTER STRATEGY: Final Presentation >

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