Research and Analysis
Understanding the urban economic ecosystem
The foundation of our research is a clear definition of what qualifies as an inner city area and an understanding of the importance of industry clusters to the workings of a healthy economy.
We define inner cities as core urban areas that currently have higher unemployment and poverty rates and lower median income levels than the surrounding region. Inner cities have a 20% or higher poverty rate or at least two of the following three criteria:
- Poverty rate of 1.5 times or more than that of their region
- Median household income of 1/2 or less than that of their region
- Unemployment rate of 1.5 or more than that of their region
ICIC uses U.S. Census data and relevant research to identify inner cities. Census data is examined at the tract level and compared to the surrounding region to determine accurate inner city locations.
Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers and associated institutions in a particular field that are present in a specific geography. Clusters arise because they increase the productivity with which companies can compete.
ICIC’s institutional method for identifying clusters includes the use of ES-202 and County Business Patterns data sources. Clusters are identified at three geographic levels: region, city and inner city.
Regions need vibrant inner cities to maximize their competitive advantages. Great cities have always been the drivers of civilization.
Trustee, Urban Land Institute, and Managing Director,
Clarion Ventures LLC