Romancing the Smokestack

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About the author:
One of America's leading commentators on urban planning and economic development, William Fulton currently serves as Mayor of Ventura, California.

Mr. Fulton is the author of several well-known books, including THE RELUCTANT METROPOLIS: THE POLITICS OF URBAN GROWTH IN LOS ANGELES, which was a Los Angeles Times best-seller; GUIDE TO CALIFORNIA PLANNING, the standard textbook on urban planning in California; and THE REGIONAL CITY: PLANNING FOR THE END OF SPRAWL, co-authored with Peter Calthorpe. He was the founding editor and publisher of the periodical California Planning & Development Report (

In his professional life, Mr. Fulton is a Principal with Design, Community & Environment (, a California-based urban planning firm, and a Senior Fellow at the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at the University of Southern California.

A native of Upstate New York, Mr. Fulton served as the Chair of the Planning Commission in the City of West Hollywood, California, in the 1980s. He was elected to the Ventura City Council in 2003 and became Mayor in 2009. In recent years, Ventura has gained a reputation as one of the most innovative cities in California. Among other things, Ventura has adopted an all-infill general plan, invested in a high-tech venture capital fund to attract business startups to the city, and established a benchmarking system to track the city's progress against goals.

Romancing the Smokestack

How Cities and States Pursue Prosperity

Authored by William Fulton

How did Federal Express decide to locate at the Memphis Airport?

Why is China also losing manufacturing jobs?

Do artists really help turn around a struggling neighborhood?

What should you do with a declining auto mall - save it or let it die and start over again?

What's better - subsidizing an business or subsidizing the infrastructure such a business requires?

These are the kinds of questions that cities and states deal with all the time in their economic development. Bill Fulton's new book, ROMANCING THE SMOKESTACK: HOW CITIES AND STATES PURSUE PROSPERITY, is a collection of economic development columns from GOVERNING magazine that covers deals with these questions - and reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly about how economic development is practiced in the United States.

Bill Fulton is a veteran author (GUIDE TO CALIFORNIA PLANNING, THE RELUCTANT METROPOLIS), urban planning and economic development consultant (with the firm Design, Community & Environment), and currently also mayor of Ventura, California, one of the most innovative communities in America. This book discusses economic development efforts that are sometimes shrewd and sometimes stupid - but shows that cities and states are tireless in their efforts to find the next economic engine.

You can read an excerpt from the introduction here:

Publication Date:
0615395937 / 9780615395937
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy

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