What comes to mind when you think of California? Is it Hollywood or Silicon Valley? Disneyland, perhaps?
Conventional narratives about California have long focused on the areas closest to its coast. The state’s coastal metropolitan areas — including San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — have generated much of its overall economic growth; they’re also where the benefits of that growth are most visible.
A new coalition co-founded by Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, wants to change the way you think about the Golden State. The goal is to shift perceptions about the state’s overlooked “backbone” region — Inland California — and shine a light on its potential as a site of innovation and opportunity, Ramakrishnan said.
Stretching from Riverside and San Bernardino counties through the Central Valley and up to Sacramento, Inland California is experiencing rapid population and economic growth. Its more than 11 million residents account for nearly 30% of the state’s population — a portion also larger than the populations of 43 states.