Databases like Simply Map can give you a lot of economic and demographic data about a location. But what do those numbers really mean? Wouldn’t it be great to have the inside track as to what patterns and variables to look for?
I can think of a couple books that will help you interpret this data.
You’ll find what to look for – the type of work, size of firms (this matters), nature of those industries, and more interesting ideas that you can use as an analytical tools. Some types of workers and industries can retool very quickly or take on new kinds of work. Obviously this leads to much greater economic successful transitions. The opposite is true in some cases, which leads to less successful transition and stagnation.You’ll be able to predict how a city might react to an economic transformation or what the future might hold for the city.Another interesting thinker to check out is Jane Jacobs.Jane Jacobs was a fascinating thinker, economist, urban studies and public policy theorist. Her work addresses the growth of cities and their economies.
Here are some interesting ideas she poses in her work The Economy of Cities.
Why adding new work to old work is crucial to growing an economy (instead of merely dividing existing work more)
Why loosely structured and inefficient economies are better suited to survive change.
Why cities predated agriculture as we know it.
How cities can replace imported goods with their own industries.
Why some villages grow into cities and some do not.
How the design of urban spacies can either promote order or hinder it.
If you are studying urban studies, public policy or economics you need to read her.
For some reason, she has two entries in the catalog. One here, the other here.