The Metro Outlook 2.0 Model

Development of the Model

The Metro Outlook 2.0 Model includes the social system, the economic system and the natural system.

Because people and the decisions they make as residents, producers, consumers and policy-makers play such an important role in performance of all three systems, they are highlighted in the final diagram of the Metro Outlook 2.0 model, shown below.

Taken as a whole, despite the model’s complexity, the story that emerges can be summarized in amazingly simple terms:

Talented people choose attractive communities whose institutions create opportunities to participate in a competitive economy without hurting the natural environment. And, at the center of this system are our policy and spending decisions, because they set the “rules of the game” that govern the performance of our institutions and our economy. 

Stated more completely, the story is still easily told: Talented people choose attractive communities — communities with high-performing public, private and nonprofit institutions and where people work well together to get things done. In turn, those institutions create opportunities for people to participate in and create an innovative, entrepreneurial, competitive economy — one that enhances existing areas of specialization for trade and develops new ones.

Such an economy is created by investment in people and place, existing and new businesses, creating increasing levels of wealth in the form of human, social and economic capital. The resulting economic growth, in turn, affects the level of natural capital in the environment, but how it is affected depends on the investments made.

If executed within a policy framework where environmental costs are part of the prices faced by businesses and consumers, the result can be not only a competitive economy, but ecologically sustainable as well. As the natural environment is restored to health, it becomes an asset in making a region attractive to talented people, bringing the process full circle.   

The overall message of the Metro Outlook 2.0 model is clear: Talented people are attracted to regions that excel in providing a high quality of life, and that means hitting on all cylinders — great communities, abundant economic opportunities, quality natural areas. In the Kansas City region, one without mountains, oceans or warm winters, our success depends more upon what we do than what we have, what we create more than our natural endowment.

And, when the stakes are high and the actions required are bigger than any individual community can undertake on its own, the region’s biggest challenge is how to act as the one region it really is.

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