A new book, The Smartest Places on Earth, examines this changing dynamic and the transformation of “rustbelt” cities, the former industrial centers of the U.S. and Europe, into a “brainbelt” of design and innovation. Authors Antoine van Agtmael, a Brookings Institution trustee, and Fred Bakker crisscrossed the globe and found that the economic tide is beginning to shift from its obsession with cheap goods to the production of smart ones.

Centennial Scholar Bruce Katz and the Metropolitan Policy Program recently hosted an event discussing these emerging hotspots and how cities such as Akron, Albany, Raleigh-Durham, Minneapolis-St.Paul, and Portland in the United States, and Eindhoven, Malmo, Dresden, and Oulu in Europe are seizing the initiative and recovering their economic strength.