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Like many other cities in the United States, Grand Rapids, Michigan has struggled with redeveloping its economic identity after the devastation of the Great Recession of 2008. Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community demonstrates how Grand Rapids has been redefined as a hub for the greatest scientific minds in the world by developing what has come to be called the “Medical Mile.”
The Medical Mile is a cluster of prosperity that is anchored by a world-renowned research institute, a major healthcare organization, a Big Ten medical school, an allied health professions program at a nearby university, and an entrepreneurial incubator where new medical device and life sciences businesses are being born. None of this existed until a $1 billion donation from Jay Van Andel changed not only the way the world views Grand Rapids, but how the community views itself.
It has been a long journey of self-discovery for Grand Rapids that could serve as inspiration for other American communities.

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