Community-Based Economic Development

An article by Placemakers highlights community-based economic development as a viable for strategy that should be considered by local governments. It enables communities to use code reform (e.g., form-based codes) and community design and to build upon partnerships strengthen local economies. It suggests leveraging codes to allow walkable, compact, mixed-use, resilient development that fits the character and scale of the local community. This strategy suggests several approaches to allow urbanism “by right.” This includes:

  • Cultivating local economies by utilizing tools such as consolidated marketing, business incubation, micro loans, enhancement districts, public-private partnerships, technical assistance, and other programs to attract local business investment.
  • Increase exports by undertaking measures to attract visitors, increase tourism, and educational opportunities. Exploiting renewable energy assets, community-supported agriculture, innovation centers, and multi-use activity centers are suggested tools.
  • Seek funding to attract new businesses. Suggested approaches include seeking out employment centers, hiring a business recruitment consultant, forming recruitment task forces, improving quality of life factors to attract residents, and building grant writing capacity.
  • Right size to consolidate development, reduce barriers to character-based development, increase public transportation, and minimize sprawling development.
  • Keep local economies diverse and consistent with the local character of the community by encouraging entrepreneurship and discouraging homogeneous patterns of residential and commercial development.
  • Respect the collective local vision to inform community design and zoning.

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