economic development

Everyone hopes and believes that “if I work hard, I will keep my job, support my family, and enjoy a growing income.”  How can communities strengthen that social compact? 

Enjoyable places to live, work and visit depend on sound, resilient economies that reinforce community character and capitalize on indigenous business talent.  Economics permeates everything… and everything affects community competitiveness:  land use, arts and culture, infrastructure, parks and recreation—the list goes on and includes such factors as “livability” or “funkiness” that defy simple definitions.  It boils down to whether communities inspire place-based investment decisions and then support them.  When people buy a home, take a job, raise a family, choose a vacation destination, book a convention venue, support a non-profit, launch a business or expand an enterprise, they stake a wager on their community.

Transformative economic development addresses competitiveness four ways:

Each entails building on existing community assets and strengths.  Thriving communities attend to both classical and contemporary aspects of economic development. ESI helps communities achieve strong fundamentals and a platform for thoughtful economic growth.



Economic development is typically measured in terms of jobs and income, but it also encompasses improvements in social capital, cultural life, educational opportunities, and environmental sustainability.

point of view


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