Forget the Smokestacks…Chase the Housing: A Case Study in Smaller City Reinvention

141104-Small-TownIt has been a busy year here at Fourth Economy. Many projects have kept us hard at work, traveling across the country and meeting great folks. A theme among these projects has been a growing desire and recognition for all places, communities and towns to reinvent themselves – transform, reimagine, pivot – all in order to attract new investment and the talent that fuels it. And within this theme is a common recognition that without quality options to live, sleep and interact, it is tough to attract that talent. Housing and the context that surrounds a community’s housing stock is (or should be) a cornerstone to any competitive and sustainable economic development strategy. Continue reading “Forget the Smokestacks…Chase the Housing: A Case Study in Smaller City Reinvention”

Do Markets Define the Place or Can a Place Define the Market?

The Fourth Economy team has been fortunate to have had many project experiences in our first two-years of life. When asked what has been the most notable observation or question that I can take away from our work thus far, it is this – Do markets define a “place” or can a “place” define the market? Throughout our national travels and work locally within the Pittsburgh region, it is clear that many second and third class cities across the country are increasingly realizing new and financially viable mixed-use development and higher density housing projects. Continue reading “Do Markets Define the Place or Can a Place Define the Market?”

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?”

4 Key Factors Influencing Investment Choices: Think Big, Plan Small, Team Up

Small towns are hot. They’re hip. They’re attracting investment. Am I crazy? Don’t think so and here’s why. Large urban centers and small towns have more in common than you may first think. Big cities are really a mosaic of small towns (neighborhoods) that share a common economic market. That is certainly true of Pittsburgh, my hometown, with more than 50 distinct and colorful neighborhoods comprising the whole. Some of these neighborhoods may be doing better than others no doubt, but by most accounts a growing love and resident attachment to them continues to grow. Continue reading “4 Key Factors Influencing Investment Choices: Think Big, Plan Small, Team Up”