Economic Development Perspectives and the Policy Process: The Case of Railroad Revitalization Versus Rails-to-Trails

Chad R. Miller, University of Southern Mississippi


State and local governance operates in the context of multiple competing economic development perspectives. This article highlights three perspectives: Thomas Friedman's flat world metaphor, Richard Florida's spiky creative class world, and Michael Shuman's localism, and reviews their resulting implications for a specific case in Mississippi. The examination of whether to revitalize the Columbus and Greenville Railroad in Mississippi or turn it into a recreational trail illustrates that the assumptions derived from these perspectives affects policy process and implementation. The implications are that public administration needs to operate with an agency perspective in the sense expressed in the "Blacksburg Manifesto.".