Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning and Development Plan Receives “Great Places” Planning Award

Upper-LawrencevilleThe Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), in partnership with Project for Public Spaces (PPS), has recognized evolveEA’s work in Upper Lawrenceville, also known as Pittsburgh’s 10th Ward, with a Great Places Award. The Upper Lawrenceville Targeted Development Strategy was developed through a series of charrettes led by evolveEA in which they helped the community craft a neighborhood identity and a series of principles guiding future development to achieve the community’s long-term livability goals. The principles built upon the existing physical and cultural legacy of Upper Lawrenceville but also were aspirational, seeding a vision for a future yet to come focused on economic, cultural and environmental issues.

Continue reading “Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning and Development Plan Receives “Great Places” Planning Award”

School Days in the Fourth Economy

131023-Higher-EducationIt seems to be college and university season in the Fourth Economy Consulting offices. We have recently welcomed two new staffers to our team with strong roots in working with higher education. In the past few weeks Ali Mabel joined our team as Director of Innovation Strategies. Ali comes to us by way of the University of Illinois where she was Program Coordinator at the Research Park. Prior to that she managed client engagements for Ernst and Young supporting finance and supply chain processes. This mix of private and university experience is a terrific fit with the rest of the team’s skill sets.

Shortly before that Susan Fisher  joined us as a Research Analyst and brings to our team  her expertise in linear cash flow analysis and her extensive experience conducting complex quantitative and qualitative research, analysis and reporting to health care and higher education projects. Susan adds a depth to our research capabilities that we were looking for and now makes our research capabilities unrivaled in our market. Continue reading “School Days in the Fourth Economy”

3 Economic Development Trends that are Closer than they Appear

131022-Economic-Development-TrendsThe practice of economic development is like driving using only the side view mirrors – you can’t even see exactly where you’ve been, but you can see the edge of the path you’ve been taking.  We try to guide ourselves forward with tools that are built for where we’ve been. Part of this rear-view navigation results from using a lot of tools that were developed to fix the problems of the past.  But it is also because we have very little useful predictive information about the future.  The majority of economic data is old.  If we have any information about what happened even a month ago, it is somewhere between a guesstimate and an approximation of the actual conditions.  By the time we manage to collect and verify the best information we can get, it is still incomplete and its shelf-life is expired.  Despair.com makes a poster, “Economics:  The science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn’t come true today.”

So while we can’t do a very good of predicting where the economy is headed, there are some trends coming up in our side view mirrors that are closer than they appear, or already passing by. Continue reading “3 Economic Development Trends that are Closer than they Appear”

Three Lessons Learned in the Past Three Years

130909-Turning-ThreeWe are celebrating our 3rd corporate birthday this week and it provides an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve learned. First, the pace of economic and community development continues to quicken as major global shifts drive business and social planning. Three years ago we were all worrying about the long-term impacts of the great recession, as unemployment was 9.6% with little sign of an end. Today, in many sectors we are working on strategies to not just keep the domestic jobs growing but also to bring them back by ‘making it in America’. As we have been saying for the past three years, the economic and community development toolbox must expand to include new models of planning for place, new types of infrastructure, and most importantly the people in our communities. Continue reading “Three Lessons Learned in the Past Three Years”

Market Opportunity Networks: Advancing Economic Development Strategy

130906-Market-Opportunity-NetworksOne of the most influential and widely pursued theories in economic development has been the use of industry clusters, or simply clusters, to focus services in a regional economy. This approach allows communities to consider the needs of interconnected firms and define a focus. What it fails to do though is to contemplate potential impacts on these clusters, both positive and negative, by market dynamics. As a result, the practice of using industry clusters as an economic development strategy is an approach that has run its course.

The Fourth Economy team has long been involved in developing and implementing cluster strategies and we have come to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of the cluster approach. Along the way, we have developed methods, tools, and best practices that we believe can help regions to more effectively leverage their potential for economic prosperity. In this article, we first review the pros and cons of clusters and then discuss a modern approach that we call Market Opportunity Networks, which retains the advantages of clusters and reduces the disadvantages. Since 2006 members of the Fourth Economy team have been developing this methodology and demonstrated success with a number of clients. Continue reading “Market Opportunity Networks: Advancing Economic Development Strategy”

Fourth Economy Organizations

Fourth-Economy-OrganizationsAs I’m getting settled in at my new position at Fourth Economy, I have been thinking about how I can blend my experiences into the team’s current projects and approaches. I have known some of the Fourth Economy team for many years, and I’m certainly someone who has promoted and supported their brand of progressive innovative growth strategies / economic development, and regional development. At the same time, I’m someone who has worked for many years promoting the strategic value that sustainability principles (triple bottom line) bring to companies, organizations and collaborative initiatives. So, I’ve been thinking about the sustainability side of the fourth economy and the organizations we’ll find there. Continue reading “Fourth Economy Organizations”

National Firm Selected to Perform Economic Data Analysis on RI’s Competitive Strengths, Areas of Improvement as Part of Sustainable Communities Initiative

Governor Chafee Announces Next Action Step in Development of an Integrated Plan to Mobilize State and Community Assets for a Better Rhode Island

January 14, 2013 (Providence, R.I.) – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced the next action step in a multi-agency effort over the next two years to develop an integrated approach for the state to land use, transportation, housing, and economic development. Through an open Request for Proposals (RFP) issued November 7, 2012 by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), in collaboration with the Division of Planning’s Statewide Planning Program, Rhode Island has selected a consulting team to compile economic data, analyze the state’s regional performance, and identify strengths and possible ways to improve Rhode Island’s economy. Continue reading “National Firm Selected to Perform Economic Data Analysis on RI’s Competitive Strengths, Areas of Improvement as Part of Sustainable Communities Initiative”

Marketing Fourth Economy Communities

The release of our latest Fourth Economy Community Index is a good opportunity to reflect on major shifts impacting economic development marketing strategies.  As we research our fourth economy communities, we see common success factors they employ to help attract and retain new investment.  Earlier this month I conducted an economic development marketing training session with economic developers from throughout the eastern U.S. and shared some key trends and lessons learned from both our project experience and through our Fourth Economy Index initiative. Here are some key take-a-ways. Continue reading “Marketing Fourth Economy Communities”

Best Practices for the Fourth Economy – University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Announces 2012 Awards of Excellence Winners

Effectively engaging higher education resources for community is economic development is critical to success in the fourth economy.  Earlier this year, the Fourth Economy team was hired by the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) to help the organization advance its strategic mission – a mission to leverage higher education and enhance our national competitiveness.

UEDA announced its 2012 Awards of Excellence winners during its Annual Summit held this October in Chattanooga, Tennessee.   The Awards of Excellence Program recognizes UEDA members who are transforming their campuses into engines of economic prosperity through leading edge initiatives in five categories: 1) Community Connected Campus: initiatives that promote the physical development of quality connected campuses and their surrounding communities; 2) Research and Analysis:  initiatives that enhance the capacity of colleges and universities to provide new forms of research and tools for community, economic and workforce development practitioners; 3) Leadership and Collaboration: initiatives that support the development of collaborative economic development strategies and the leaders required to implement them; 4) Innovation and Entrepreneurship: initiatives designed to support startups, high-growth companies and clusters within a region; and 5) Talent Development: initiatives that promote the development of 21st-century skills.  Continue reading “Best Practices for the Fourth Economy – University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Announces 2012 Awards of Excellence Winners”

Fourth Economy Helps Advance University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Mission and Impact

By now we all know that talent, innovation and quality place-based strategies are at the heart of the fourth economy.  Earlier this year, the Fourth Economy team was hired by the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) to help the organization advance its strategic mission – a mission to leverage higher education and enhance our national competitiveness.

Our first year efforts culminated in one of the largest Annual Summit’s since the organization’s founding.  More than 175 delegates convened in Chattanooga, Tennessee in October for the three-day conference.

“There has never been a more important time for this delegation to convene than now,” said William Michalerya, UEDA President. “In the next few weeks, there will be a national election and regardless of the outcome, there will be a renewed discussion and interest in how best our Country should leverage its innovation assets and make key investments in those resources,” Michalerya added. Continue reading “Fourth Economy Helps Advance University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Mission and Impact”