Creating Vibrant Communities through Economic Development

By Melissa Kuehne.

The dissolution of redevelopment agencies coupled with the lingering recession has left many seeking new approaches to local economic development. Two new resources from the Institute for Local Government (ILG) provide practical tips on proven techniques that county leaders can use to enhance their communities’ economic prosperity and fiscal health.

Making Prosperity Sustainable

How can local communities reap fiscal and economic benefits from sustainability activities related to energy efficiency, green infrastructure and water and wastewater management? In an era of sluggish job growth and fiscal constraints, local leaders may not realize the potential power of investing in sustainability. Communities that have implemented sustainability strategies offer mounting evidence that these approaches can help improve both economic prosperity and fiscal health.

“Prosperity That Lasts: Building Economically Sustainable Communities” outlines a number of strategies and success stories from counties and cities that have boosted their local economy with smart sustainability investments and practices.

Engaging the Public in Economic Development

One essential economic development tool that may be overlooked is public engagement. “Engaging the Public in Economic Development” describes practical ways that local leaders can help residents develop a shared knowledge and ownership of local economic development policies and programs.

Many residents may have a clear idea about what they want in their community, but as economic development professionals know, this is much easier said than done. Understanding the current state of your community will help identify the process and resources that can — and should — be applied to a public participation effort.

Because local challenges and opportunities are as varied as individual communities, engaging the public helps incorporate views from a variety of perspectives and offers new avenues for implementation best suited to your community’s circumstances, conditions and priorities. An informed and engaged community can improve decision-making, ease project implementation and build trust and vibrant communities.

Both of these resources can be accessed here.

Originally posted at CSAC.

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