In Iowa some regions are growing more rapidly than others, and some areas that had robust economies in the past are finding themselves in decline. Regional economies are often functionally indifferent to municipal, county, and even state boundaries, although most of our economic development activities and promotions are done at the municipal or county level, with an occasional measure of state effort thrown in at times. Larger area economic development has been tried and talked about over the years under the guise of “regionalism,” but most economic development activity is site and city specific. In a state with nearly 950 cities, a large fraction will not be competitive for new jobs and people simply because of their size, dispersion, and the existing patterns of growth that have emerged over time.
Swenson, Dave and Eathington, Liesl, "The Iowa Regional Economic Atlas" (2003). Economics Technical Reports and White Papers. 26.