In South Bend, Ind., new buildings housing high-tech startups are being built on the site that once housed the Studebaker automobile factories. This construction is a fitting symbol of the progress toward rebirth of the struggling rust-belt city's economy, which once relied on traditional manufacturing and is now benefitting from the knowledge and technology industries. This economic pivot is mirrored by an internal city-government shift to better use of data and evidence.
I spoke with Mayor Pete Buttigieg recently, after South Bend was named as one of the latest 16 cities to join Bloomberg Philanthropies' What Works Cities initiative, about the factors that enabled this growth and the way innovation is coming to permeate the city's government. This economic-development strategy, the mayor emphasized, "is all about taking what we have and finding new value in it."