National Survey of Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

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National Survey of Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts
Forward Cities conducted a national survey of regional and local economic development initiatives that emphasizes entrepreneurship and innovation, with an emphasis on including historically underserved individuals and communities as an important and intentional part of their local and regional competitiveness strategy.

A survey was conducted of the thirty-five largest cities in the US by population, excluding the largest two cities – New York City and Los Angeles. Out of these thirty-five cities, the sixteen cities with dedicated economic development plans at the local and regional level (vs strategic plans with an economic development component) were analyzed. Each plan was reviewed for its overall focus as well as for its “Innovation/Entrepreneurship” and “Inclusion/Diversity” focus.
“Innovation/Entrepreneurship” and “Inclusion/Diversity” were defined as follows:

  • Innovation/Entrepreneurship – A focus on developing a multi-resource support system for “homegrown” local enterprises to launch and scale in ways that contribute to the city/region’s standard of living goals for its populace.
  • Inclusion/Diversity – A focus on including historically underserved individuals and communities into high-growth entrepreneurial ecosystems and wealth building strategies and policy.

Here is how this tool should be used:

# of meeting(s)*Focus
1-4Introduce innovation council members and the process, identify committee membership, and establish meeting schedule and high-level operating procedures. Secure additional resources as needed. Begin to build trust among diverse representatives (ongoing effort).
1-2Consider 10-year vision for fostering inclusive innovation (including establishing a common understanding of equity and inclusivity within the community context).
9-15Complete the Community Innovation Asset Map (Note: some of these meetings can occur outside of the innovation council (such as by the data partner or in the data committee during the systems mapping work). The policy committee will also be actively engaged in completing the Asset Map.
1Present Asset Map to innovation council for discussion. Edit Asset Map based on innovation council feedback, assign points to each measure. (Note: Assigning points can be done virtually).
1-3Innovation council leaders (or data committee members) should facilitate a dialogue among innovation council members about the differences in points within these measures, refine Asset Map and 10-year vision as needed.
NextComplete the first Community Perception Survey.

Participate in Strategic Planning efforts and identify an accountable anchor organization.

Develop communications plan.
Ongoing, as needed.The innovation council membership may change as some leave and new members join. Team development strategies should continue until innovation council norms have been established, and then ongoing as needed.

Monitor and trouble-shoot the implementation of the strategic plan, including communications/storytelling and local policy efforts.

Collaborative Economic Development Recommended Reading

With urbanization driving global growth and more competition for regional, national, and international attention and investment, it is more important than ever that cities, counties, economic development organizations, and other community stakeholders invested in creating inclusive and innovative ecosystems create collaborative in a number of key areas.

From smart growth, to doing more with less, to winning buy-in for community change, the articles below explore what can happen when cities invest in collaborative frameworks focused on clear, cohesive, and unified economic development strategies in their region and beyond.

Over the planning hurdle, how regions implement economic development strategy– This overview of challenges faced by regional planning bodies can provide insight for how cities can help their regions put visions and strategies into practice.

Collaboration Promotes Economic Development and Advances Sustainability – A look at how the east Bay Economic Development Alliance successfully employed regional collaborative strategies to not only build the local economy but also improve the quality of life in their community.

3 Ways Cities in the Same Metro Area Can Benefit from Working Together – At the 2016 Intelligent Community Forum Summit, members explored what it means for cities that are essentially competitors in economic development to work together.

When Cities and Suburbs Work Together – A look at how metropolitan areas like Denver and New York are shunning competition and focusing on how entire regions can work together to reach economic goals.

A Collaborative Approach to Urban Economic Development – An exploration of how larger regions can benefit from a consistent and collaborative economic development strategy.

Regional alignment, not competition: How Greater Milwaukee is remaking economic development – Using Milwaukee as a case study, this article explores the area’s collaborative regional initiative designed to spur economic growth.

White Papers:
Collaborative Regional Economic Development Models Study – Commissioned by the 3920 Alliance, this report examines three collaborative regional economic development models using five carefully selected and relevant examples, identifying the respective advantages and disadvantages of each model.

Regional Partnerships and Metropolitan Economic Development – This article employs survival analysis and multilevel growth curve models to examine how the emergence of regional partnership arrangements influences patterns of economic development in U.S. metropolitan areas.

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