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Abstract

Michigan Street hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan has been dubbed the ‘Medical Mile’ because of the recent developments related to medical research and health care at this location. The impact of this growth is sure to change the face of Grand Rapids, but it is not clear how it will impact the economic situation there. Many other cities around the country and around the globe are putting investment into the bioscience, biotechnology, or life sciences sectoral strategy hoping that it will have a profound effect on their economic vitality. In this paper, I explore theoretical and practical perspectives on the crucial components that create a thriving bioscience cluster. After examining the broader international and national trends of success, this paper evaluates the collective impact of the biosciences on the Grand Rapids area through an assessment of the opportunities and constraints involved in the process. This paper was originally submitted in a Masters level Economic Development course, but it is being further developed as the Grand Rapids “Medical Mile” unfolds as one of Michigan’s primary economic drivers. The most recent draft was submitted in April 2008 in the Public Management Seminar course required for completion of a Masters degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Health Administration. It expands on the conditions and infrastructure of the Grand Rapids economic development strategy through the lens of the economic philosophy of “Wikinomics.” It delves into the changes that have occurred over the past year and examines what lies ahead.



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