Balancing Energy, Air Quality, and a Sense of Place in Pittsburgh

Air-QualityOn Monday June 29, 2015 the United States Supreme Court brought air quality into the limelight when it ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to fully consider the cost to energy producers of limiting air emissions.  While the need to balance the costs of regulation against the intended social benefit is nothing new, the highest court of law held the EPA to that standard just months after the Urban Land Institute reported in America in 2015 that quality of environment (including air and water quality) is the top community attribute priority for people choosing a place to live in 2015. Continue reading “Balancing Energy, Air Quality, and a Sense of Place in Pittsburgh”

A Fourth Economy Work Product with Legs

131122-Transit-ReportOne of the regular questions asked of our firm is “what Fourth Economy projects or reports have been implemented?”  While we think all of them have added value and are implemented to some degree, one project stands out.  In 2009 Fourth Economy teamed with Clear View Strategies and URS Corporation to conduct a study on Transit Oriented Development (TOD).

The client was the Southwestern Planning Commission in Pennsylvania.  The product entitled Future Investment in TOD (or FIT) was a first of its kind report that not only documented the success factors for a TOD but also provided a predictive model for planners and economic developers to determine where and how a TOD development would have the greatest economic impact and success. Continue reading “A Fourth Economy Work Product with Legs”

Economic Development: What I Didn’t Learn in Planning School

131114-Teaching-PlanningI received my Master’s in Urban Planning with a focus on Community Development. I learned a lot about how to design “great places” as the American Planning Association calls them. Characteristics of a Great Neighborhood include… Continue reading “Economic Development: What I Didn’t Learn in Planning School”

Fourth Economy Releases Economic Development Data Analysis & Assessment for Rhode Island

Economy-RI-cover

Today, Fourth Economy will be meeting with Rhode Island’s Governor Chafee, members of the legislature, and other stakeholders to discuss the findings of our Economic Development Data Analysis and Assessment. The report comes after two months working closely with the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, the Statewide Planning Program, and the Office of Regulatory Reform as part of a larger Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. The report analyzes Rhode Island’s business climate, industry clusters, regulatory environment, financial resources, and marketing efforts. Continue reading “Fourth Economy Releases Economic Development Data Analysis & Assessment for Rhode Island”

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”

Using Data to Make Smarter Transportation Systems (and Happier People)

I’ll be honest; the transportation system in Pittsburgh is one of my least favorite things about this city. If I drive to work, I begin and end my day in a state of stress and frustration from sitting in traffic and yelling at signals. If I take the bus, I have to have exact cash and, like this morning, have to stand in the pouring rain waiting – who knows how long? My guess is that you may feel the same about your city, wherever that may be. However, it turns out it doesn’t have to be that way! Continue reading “Using Data to Make Smarter Transportation Systems (and Happier People)”

Innovation Clusters: Water is Gold

Forget the gold rush.  A “water rush” is underway and water rich states are well positioned.

Just a few short years ago businesses expanding or relocating were likely to cite broadband and transportation networks among the most important factors in their decision process.  The Southwestern U.S. has been targeted for the majority of this investment activity. But with below average snowpack, higher temperatures, growing consumption, and extreme drought appearing to be the new normal, water has quickly become the new gold.

Continue reading “Innovation Clusters: Water is Gold”

Back to School: The Institution of Town

Although our calendars tell us that the official end of summer is still a few weeks away, for many of us, the symbolic end of summer comes when the school bells ring.  The days get shorter…bedtimes come earlier…and social media users go into overdrive posting mobile uploads of children waiting for yellow busses.  As a community planner, I’m always fascinated by the changes that occur in our communities when schools go back in session. Empty street corners become social hot spots at 7:15 a.m.  Sidewalks connecting homes to classrooms get more use.  Community parks empty in the daytime and football fields fill on Friday nights. Continue reading “Back to School: The Institution of Town”

Chelsea from Fourth Economy Travels to Korea

This Friday I will be taking my maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean – heading to South Korea for a month of cultural and vocational learning. The trip is sponsored by the Rotary Group Study Exchange (GSE) program, which provides opportunities for young professionals to increase their knowledge of and connections to the global workplace. The Pittsburgh Rotary District 7300 is sponsoring our trip to South Korea, with a focus on green building and sustainable development.

Continue reading “Chelsea from Fourth Economy Travels to Korea”