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What is the optimal group of assets for economic growth in the Upper Peninsula?
When you look optimal assets for economic growth for a region you need to look at what makes that region unique or different from other regions. For the Upper Peninsula the first two clusters of assets that spring to my mind are human assets and natural resources.
Specifically in the human assets I would look to the universities as an anchor for their regions. Leveraging talent, technology and their outreach efforts could lead to economic growth in those areas around what makes these campuses tick.
The other area that can spur economic growth would be natural resources or green infrastructure assets. These assets form the base of natural resource based activities such as tourism and resource extraction with all of their support activities.
Natural resources is one of the major assets for every region. I think it is the best thing to be proud of as well as the beautiful sceneries to be seen there.
Regional economic growth is more and more tied to human capital (knowledge and skill of the labor force). However, keeping highly skilled workers in colder areas is becoming more difficult as warmer areas in the South develops in attractiveness. While the UP has both universities that can generate human capital and natural resources that can be used to foster a recreation/tourism industry, regions with scarce fixed population should be open to take advantage of the high demand for clean energy in the future (wind power, nuclear power, etc.).