Freelancing and remote work is so powerful and it is a tool that can be exploited to address the
economic development of rural areas. There are legacy cities that can really benefit from programs
structured to in freelance and remote work. Tulsa is one of such legacy cities looking to make some
progress in this area. They are targeting millennials who want to work remotely to help them rebuild the
area and inject economic vibrancy.
This is a welcome development considering the fact that Tulsa continues to struggle to shake away its
reputation as a flyover city while smaller cities like Denver, Portland, and Austin overflowing with
This initiative is funded by the Kaiser foundation and a detailed plan going forward is detailed below:
“(R)emote workers from all over the country can apply to move to Tulsa in exchange for $10,000 in cash,
a housing stipend for a fully-furnished apartment in a building downtown, and a desk at a local co-
working space. Program applicants must be over 18, eligible to work in the United States … come from
outside Tulsa County, and be doing full-time remote work for a company that’s based elsewhere, or be
self-employed. And to get all the cash, they have to stay the full year.”
There are other legacy cities hoping to leverage on the surge of freelancers and remote workers. Akron,
Ohio is one example. This city lost the majority of its inhabitants to other less expensive places in the south
after big tire, chemical and auto companies moved abroad. They are now proposing a rebate on
residential taxes and trying hard to improve on the quality of life. In Baltimore and New Haven, we are also
seeing a similar program in a bid to attract young talent.
Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh are also among the cities currently targeting millennials that
grew up in the city to come back and build a life. This will also attract other young professionals to the
improved lifestyle and cost of living that the city will have to offer. All of these cities have lost so much
of their population after major shifts with industries that were at some point operational there.