In Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, Michael Lewis exposes the underlying truth of assembling a winning baseball team. His book tells the story of how the Oakland A’s created a winning team utilizing unbiased statistics and keeping strategies simple, all while equipped with only a fraction of the money the other teams were spending on players.
The Oakland A’s proved that wins occur in the aggregate when the right fundamentals are developed and maintained. The A’s found this success when they sought out undervalued players with a proven track record of hits. Despite all the hype, homeruns, player profiles, stolen bases or attractiveness of girlfriends, wins came down to getting on base.
This principle seems so simple, but sometimes the simple fundamentals get lost in the fantasy of the improbable dream.
In redevelopment I sometimes use the phrase “hitting singles” similar to how Michael Lewis uses the phrase “getting on base”. In redevelopment many communities wait on high profile/big idea projects to occur much like a baseball team waits for the name brand player to come along.
The Oakland A’s proved that wins come from the fundamental strategy of getting on base. Should our approach to redevelopment be any different? I would argue that a city’s success hinges more on focusing their efforts on landing more projects similar to how the A’s focused their efforts toward getting on base.
Homerun hitters, like home run projects are great icons, but it takes a team with many hits to win a game. Similarly it takes a community many projects, both large and small, to achieve lasting urban redevelopment.