Creating Great Communities

Great communities drive economic success. That is a simple statement, but one that redefines how the economic development system operates.

Today’s economic development system must collaborate with organizations working to improve housing, transportation, and recreational and cultural amenities to ensure that their communities can grow, retain and attract the talent companies need.

Many of the communities that we partner with are facing serious challenges related to past or ongoing population loss. They are recognizing how critical it is to create vibrant places that attract and retain the talent that is needed to drive economic growth. The Fourth Economy team is an experienced partner in helping these communities return to greatness.

Fourth Economy helps create great communities by:

  • Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your community through data, stakeholder input, and location benchmarking
  • Creating an economic case for community revitalization that builds consensus and inspires action
  • Working with a broad set of community stakeholders to build programs and projects that create positive change and lasting engagement
  • Providing the tools required to support neighborhood transition planning, including data-informed housing strategies, small business development, and community engagement

Here are some of the ways that Fourth Economy has helped to create great communities:

Creating Great Regional Cities

Fourth Economy profiled the country’s best examples of urban transformation and helped the Indiana Economic Development Corporation create the Regional Cities Initiative. The goal of the program was to incentivize economic and community development stakeholders to work together to create a plan for investing in quality of place improvements as a way to retain and attract talent. Fourth Economy also helped Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. and the Northern Indiana Regional Partnership (South Bend) prepare their Regional Development Plans, both of which were awarded $42 million in matching dollars from the state.

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Strengthening Neighborhood Housing Markets

With the housing market in two Pittsburgh neighborhoods suffering from neglect, disinvestment, and vacancy, the Hilltop Alliance turned to Fourth Economy to create a market-based strategy to stop the decline and restore the housing market. In addition to the market study and strategy, the project team developed a Housing Repair Toolkit and a Housing Finance Toolkit that can be used by homeowners to prioritize the repairs to their home and discover how to pay for those repairs.

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Supporting Green Stormwater Solutions

Fourth Economy has worked with several organizations on different aspects of building the market for green stormwater solutions. We facilitated a multi-phased stakeholder engagement process to help the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority develop their green infrastructure strategy. We created a business plan for StormWorks, a social enterprise selling green infrastructure solutions for homeowners. And we created a triple-bottom line analysis of the impacts of a green infrastructure project in the Larimer neighborhood.

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