You’ve probably heard the term “eds & meds” by now. The casual reference to what can amount to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment in community colleges, universities, hospitals, medical training and research facilities. From the late 1980s this sector boomed in many communities in North America, very often in suburban aeas or in places simultaneously host to industrial decline. The appearance of glassy new and upgraded facilities belonging to pharma companies, hospital non-profits, biotechnology firms and the like is usually considered an encouraging sign for the construction jobs and employment prospects associated with what can often be huge undertakings. In a deindustrializing economy where the majority of employers are low wage service providers or retailers it is small wonder that a lot of faith has been put in this sector. Buffalo, NY and Hamilton, ON are two examples of places where “eds & meds” are looked to by communities in transition. Aaron Renn at newgeography.com sounds a cautionary note that the sector may be peaking. Renn cites costs, especially the increasingly dismal economics of higher edcation as a personal investment in the United States as well as the decline in Gross Domestic Product and the declining growth rate of health care spending. He feels the sector is simply maxed out and simply cannot continue to play the role it has been playing in urban and regional development strategies for the last couple of decades.
image: NYPL Digital Gallery via Wikimedia Commons