Sustainable Communities in the Fourth Economy

Integrated-Economic-DevelopmentEconomic development has traditionally been a tool for relatively well-off communities to improve their lot by attracting new jobs and increasing their tax base. Relatively well-off, that is, compared to low-income communities of color, and in particular, urban communities. For them, community development has been the primarily tool, working primarily through real estate development and social service programs. However, it turns out that real estate and social service programs have not sufficiently improved the lot of many of the poorest neighborhoods. In fact, one in six Americans now lives in poverty, the highest in half a century. Furthermore, it turns out that all communities, regardless of class or color, need more than just jobs. Therefore, at Fourth Economy, we are interested in continually pushing for a more integrated approach to community and economic development. Continue reading “Sustainable Communities in the Fourth Economy”

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?”