New Economic Realities for Communities Mean New (and More Sustainable) Approaches

Community-SustainabilityBy Joanna Nadeau, Director of Community Programs
Audubon International

For better or worse, many towns and cities are experiencing new economic realities. Around the country, communities that historically depended on manufacturing or farming for jobs are suffering, as those sectors continue a long term decline. Fourth Economy and Audubon International have a shared interest in assisting cities and local governments in addressing the challenges they face through sustainable solutions.

To be sustainable, a local economy must be two things: 1) diverse—that is, based on a wide range of profitable sectors—and 2) making the most of natural assets while protecting them for the future. Continue reading “New Economic Realities for Communities Mean New (and More Sustainable) Approaches”

Four Ingredients that Led to $84 Million and a Shared Vision for Indiana

Regional-Cities-UpdateYou may have missed the news out of Indiana two weeks ago  – no it wasn’t about that – it was the news that Indiana became the first state in the country to launch an economic development initiative focused on Quality of Place. This effort called the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and now supported by $84 million, is an opportunity for Indiana’s regional communities to rally together to define what they can accomplish to enhance their communities. The visionary leadership of Indiana Governor Pence and Eric Doden, former President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, drove the creation of this initiative and it will pay dividends to Indiana’s communities for years to come. Continue reading “Four Ingredients that Led to $84 Million and a Shared Vision for Indiana”

National Fourth Economy Community Index Lists Top Ten Large-Sized Counties


Fourth Economy Consulting announces the latest release of its national community index, listing top counties from across the nation. The Fourth Economy Index highlights those communities ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth within the fourth economy.

PITTSBURGH, PA – The latest edition of the Fourth Economy Community Index was announced today, recognizing the top ten large-sized Fourth Economy Communities. These communities—with populations between 150,000 and 499,999—were selected because they represent regions that are poised to achieve sustainable economic growth while attracting people and investment.

Continue reading “National Fourth Economy Community Index Lists Top Ten Large-Sized Counties”

Reflections of a Millennial: What’s wrong with balance?

As a Millennial, I find it interesting to read articles written about “us” by people outside our generation. Everyone is trying to figure out what my generation will do so they can cater to our wants and desires. Good luck! There are more than 45 million of us and we are the most diverse generation in history. Yes, we share some similar attributes and experiences (we consume much more technology than past generations, for instance) but I think it unwise to attempt to cater to us as if we are a homogenous group.

Continue reading “Reflections of a Millennial: What’s wrong with balance?”

The Art of Sophistication: Linking Universities and Towns

In the fourth economy, the world’s universities will anchor far-reaching and interconnected communities that seamlessly blend ideation and commerce. These communities will be simultaneously virtual and place-based. In anticipation of this evolution the most forward looking institutions are working to understand how they can control or influence the economics of the marketplace to create thriving campus edge commercial environments. These environments create a neutral space for the life of the university to engage with the world in the most practical sense of the term.

This is nothing new, to be honest. The monastic system both in Europe and Asia produced this creative mixing immediately beyond the walls of the institution where the laity would be taught and blessed in exchange for tithes or food. In the U.S. only a handful of institutions (Harvard Square, Morningside Heights, and Charlottesville come to mind) created and preserved a truly dynamic physical place where the academy mixes with the populous. However, leadership at a growing number of universities and colleges are coming to believe that creating something in this spirit is critical to the success of the institution, as measured by their ability to attract and retain world-class faculty and students.

Continue reading “The Art of Sophistication: Linking Universities and Towns”

Innovation Networks and Economic Growth

Here at Fourth Economy, we’re always looking for opportunities to identify and build upon local assets. This often takes the form of bringing together various stakeholders to advance specific technologies and sectors. We’re currently working on building more robust sectors around both energy and water here in the greater Pittsburgh region and beyond. Even though this work is challenging, a dense network of universities, technology intermediaries, economic development partners, and private sector businesses aids our work. But what happens when you leave the “big city” and those players are spread further across a region?

Continue reading “Innovation Networks and Economic Growth”

Inovation-Based Economic Development vs. State Budgets

Before we get too far into the new fiscal year, we thought we’d go back and look at how the innovation-based economic development (IBED) world fared in the last round of state budgets. Tax credits continue to be a favored tool to spur growth and investment in the IBED world. Even though budgets are tight, many states have maintained or increased funding for IBED-related tax credits, and a few, such as Nebraska and Virginia have introduced new ones. Supporting commercialization efforts was also high on the list this legislative season. Ohio’s Third Frontier, for instance, has a new Commercial Acceleration Loan Fund worth $25 million. With waning investment from traditional venture capital firms, several states are stepping in to fill the gap. Maryland’s new InvestMaryland program allocates $70 million for venture capital in the innovation economy sector. And though it was developed back in 1989, Economic Gardening has only recently started to catch hold on the regional and state level. Nebraska, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan have all introduced new initiatives this year. The trend of the year, though, seems to be the restructuring of state-level economic development efforts, with a particular emphasis on engaging the private sector. Many of these efforts are currently facing some controversy, but we wouldn’t be surprised if once the wrinkles get ironed out, this is a trend that’s here to stay.

 Download the complete White Paper:
Perspecitves – Innovation-Based Economic Development vs. State Budgets


And…don’t forget about our poll this month…


Think we missed something? We’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments below…