This hurts not only Boston, not only Cambridge, but the entire metropolitan region. Likewise, we must work together to face these challenges. The work of Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter on Regional Economic Clusters illustrates the success possible when municipalities work together to develop a shared vision for success. The political boundaries separating our two cities are less important than whether or not new investment comes to our region at all and whether or not existing businesses remain in the region. What difference does it make if a new company chooses the Longwood Medical Area or Kendall Square if we lose them to Seattle, North Carolina, or any of the 22 cities comprising Silicon Valley? Instead of looking jealously at each other, we must look outward and imagine what we can achieve working vigorously with each other.
It’s in that spirit that we are bringing the City Councils of Cambridge and Boston together for the first time on December 16 (today) at 3 P.M. at the Museum of Science, which sits on the border of our two cities. Professor Porter’s office and the Monitor Group will kick off a discussion on the economic competitiveness of the Cambridge/Boston tech cluster. Civic, business, and academic leaders from both sides of the river will convene to develop a shared vision for how to ensure the success of our region as a whole.
Nothing could be more important for the future of the Boston/Cambridge region’s ability to create jobs and reduce unemployment than to compete effectively for the best companies. Cynics may claim this is about politics. The truth is the politics of the past operated by respecting political boundaries and crafting policies only within those lines. This is about people. A recognition of the reality that we have a better shot at helping people in each of our communities if we work together instead of against each other. The continued vibrancy of our two cities is interconnected, and today’s generation of local leaders needs to work together across those boundaries and tap our collective strengths to make our region successful. We’re all in it together.