I like the reference to 'Triumph of the City' from Havard's Ed Glaeser. KS did some researching earlier in the year on regional protection, such as preferential purchasing programs as recently strengthened by Cairns Regional Council (unwisely in my view). The literature is thin but Glaeser's name is certainly the highest profile economist to come up. There is some relevant stuff coming out of depressed areas of the US which deserve a separate post sometime.
Regardless, KS will put this on his reading list and concurs with Glaeser and QEW.
"…all successful cities do have something in common. To thrive cities must attract smart people and enable them to work collaboratively. There is no such thing as a successful city without human capital."AND
"Too many officials in troubled cities wrongly imagine that they can lead their city back to its former glories with some massive construction project – a new stadium or light rail system, a convention centre, or a housing project. With very few exceptions, no public policy can stem the tidal forces of urban change."
Enough on this for now but it deserves far more. I don't think any of the current strategic direction for Cairns is actually too far away from this approach or too faraway fom where it spould be. Cairns has much going for it if it "co-operates with the inevitable", as suggested by Glaeser, and is well positioned for trends in agriculture, mining services, education, and proximity to the largest growing middle class in world history.