Pioneering a New Approach to Economic Development

A core principle at Fourth Economy is that economic development works best when it works at the intersection of environmental, social, and economic issues—a concept referred to as sustainable or triple bottom line economic development. A recent article published in Economic Development Quarterly by one of our Fourth Economy Pioneers gives some background into this concept.

Janet Hammer of The Collaboratory, the lead author of this research, notes that while traditional economic development delivers programs, policies, or activities designed to create or retain jobs and wealth, sustainable economic development does so in ways that also contribute to environmental, social, and economic well-being over time. This triple bottom line approach recognizes that economic development both influences and is influenced by a spectrum of factors like quality of life, fiscal health, resource stewardship, and resilience. Continue reading “Pioneering a New Approach to Economic Development”

Embedding Equity Into Economic Development

Guest Blog by Sarah Treuhaft, Director of Equitable Growth Initiatives, PolicyLink

Treuhaft-Inequit-BlogIt is another summer in which America’s deep racial fault lines are being painfully exposed. Following the horrific violence in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas, in a July 8 poll seven in ten Americans said race relations are “generally bad.” A National League of cities analysis of one hundred “state of the city” speeches from 2016 found that mayors increasingly view racism and inequities as major threats to progress in their cities.
Continue reading “Embedding Equity Into Economic Development”

Cities Coming to Life

Living Buildings as Regional Hubs for Sustainable Redevelopment

Imagine buildings that are able to produce all of the energy they need using renewable sources such as wind or solar, that capture and treat all of the water needed for building occupants and systems, eliminating the need for water or sewage treatment infrastructure. Mounting evidence suggests that buildings of the future must look like this to secure a sustainable future. The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is leading the charge by requiring these attributes of projects that are seeking its prominent certification. And as cities and towns transition to green building and sustainable living, we look to Living Buildings for inspiration. Continue reading “Cities Coming to Life”

Elements: Making a Difference in Indianapolis

 

Last month, the Fourth Economy team organized a panel discussion at the annual summit of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) in Indianapolis, IN. The panel topic “Partnerships for Place-making” brought together a cross-sector of university, private real estate and community development specialists.

How colleges and universities can engage for community and economic development is an important fourth economy element. Aaron Laramore, Program Officer for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Indianapolis summarized the key resources and roles his regional universities play within the community development nexus.

The Role?

  1. Research and Analysis – They can help to effectively define the problem, determine how long has it been going on, how bad it is, and what can be done.
  2. Implementation – They can help development solutions, deployment strategies and evaluate results.
  3. Education – They can help inform the community on project opportunities and guide the community planning process

Resources in Indy?

Within the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IU-PUI) partnership, several centers and community resources exist.

The Center for Urban Health researches the enhancement of health and sustainability for urban populations, focused on environmental legacies to include reduced contamination, removing social and economic disparities and emerging threats such climate change and water quality.

The Center for Service and Learning partners students, faculty and staff with near campus neighborhoods to address community and social justice issues.

The Polis Center is an academic research center with practical and applied orientation on issues related to metro Indianapolis and other mid-sized American cities using geospatial information systems

The Outcomes in Indy?

Several key community improvement initiatives and development projects have resulted through these partnerships.

Improving Kids Environment (IKE) – IKE is a local non-profit in Indianapolis focused on the reduction of environmental threats to children’s health. IKE uses research and tactical expertise from IUPUI to educate residents on soil lead levels, environmental hot spots, safe gardening techniques and air quality monitoring.

Indy Indicators – Indy Indicators is a website resource measuring and engaging people in the quality of life in Central Indiana by providing interactive maps based on census tracts and neighborhoods on key indicators, metrics and community assessments.

IUPUI Fit for Life – Fit for Life assists neighborhoods in creating long-rage health plans to reduce obesity, heart desease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Fit For Life established a 6,000 square foot wellness center open for use by parents and community members

Growing Nearwest – The IUPUI Herron School of Arts enlisted two classes to create a garden identity and image for the initiative and marketing materials. A design team engaged community residents in determining relevant crops, garden sites and strategies to address water and labor engagement to support the gardens.

Click here to view Aaron’s full presentation:

LISC mobilizes corporate, government and philanthropic support to provide local community development organizations with 1) loans, grants and equity investments, 2) local, statewide and national policy support and 3) technical and management assistance.

If you have a fourth economy partnership story you would like to share with us, drop us a note below…

Hitting the Panic Button

I participated in a forum hosted by West Virginia University President Jim Clements. The topic was on Innovation and American Competitiveness. Fellow participants came from a variety of backgrounds – Provosts, Deans, Students, Alumni which included investment managers, bankers and venture capitalists and more.

The conversation was motivating and really got me thinking more about the work we are doing and how the role we are playing in connecting innovation market participants is so critical.

What really got folks attention was Ray Lane from Kleiner Perkins and an alumni, basically saying that it is time for us to hit the Panic Button. There is so much going wrong right now that small fixes aren’t going to get us out of the economic mess we are in.

Many of us took note of Ray’s observations and the conversation should live on in various forums that we are all participating in. For my part I believe that Ray and other speakers were articulating the values of a fourth economy. Expecting value, showing true leadership and not political stupidity, taking a team approach to economic growth, inclusiveness and respect are all values that we must appreciate in order to move beyond this economic mess.

I pledge to do my part and hope that my friends will join us. Oh and by the way, Ray mentioned the need for a third political party as a way to get our elected leaders back to action and not just rhetoric. Fourth Economy Party anyone?