Placemaking in Economic Devlopment

The Project for Public Spaces has a great Marketing Tool!  There is growing momentum to get “back to the basics” of what makes cities thrive. Many of the most effective and immediate solutions are …

Source: Placemaking in Economic Devlopment


Placemaking in Economic Devlopment

faster cheaper eco devp The Project for Public Spaces has a great Marketing Tool!  There is growing momentum to get “back to the basics” of what makes cities thrive. Many of the most effective and immediate solutions are lighter, quicker, and cheaper than traditional top-down approaches to improving cities.

The quality of a public space has always been best defined by the people who use it. The growing success of “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” (LQC) projects all over the world is proof that expensive and labor-intensive initiatives are not the only, or even the most effective, ways to bring energy and life into a community’s public space.

United under the core principles of community vision, cost-effectiveness, collaboration, and citizen-led change, this exciting movement goes by many names—action-planning, guerilla urbanism, pop-up projects, city repair, D.I.Y. Urbanism, and Tactical Urbanism. We see each of these efforts as important tools and catalysts for larger community-based Placemaking processes.

“Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” is a phrase we borrowed from Eric Reynolds in 2010 to describe the simple, short-term, and low-cost solutions that are having remarkable impacts on the shaping of neighborhoods and cities. PPS began to chronicle many of these solutions in the 2007 book: The Great Neighborhood Book: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Placemaking. Since we began our work in 1975, we have used Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper interventions to address all kinds of public space challenges, and the impacts of these projects have been lasting and profound.

The proliferation of LQC efforts all over the world signals the emergence of a powerful, networked, and creative movement, and it shows that more and more people are beginning to see how communities can be created and transformed by making a series of affordable, human-scale, and near-term changes. Although many of the challenges facing today’s cities go well beyond the scope of these individual interventions, taken together they demonstrate that incremental and place-led change is possible, even in the midst of ongoing social, economic, and political obstacles.

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Bates County–Working toward Certification of being a “Work-Ready” Community

Bates County is working toward Certification of a “Work Ready” Community! We have turned in all of the letters of commitment and are awaiting to hear back!  Missouri’s CWRC initiative is a voluntary effort to align workforce and education to meet state and local economic needs. Certification efforts are guided by key community leaders in each county, including: elected officials, economic developers, business leaders, chambers of commerce, educators, and workforce developers.
Missouri’s CWRC vision is to attract, retain, and develop a workforce with the education and fundamental skills to succeed in the 21st Century.
The CWRC effort will strengthen existing businesses, attracting new businesses, and develop a strong talent pipeline for Missouri’s future growth. For more information, please visit the Missouri Work Ready Communities website at:

Great News!

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today released the president’s 2017 budget for the Department of Labor, which supports the president’s plan to train workers for the jobs of the future and bolster the economic and retirement security of working families.

“This budget makes investments to ensure that America’s economy works for everyone. It reflects our optimism about the future and our commitment to creating broadly shared prosperity,” Perez said. “The president’s budget envisions a future with greater opportunity for all – a future where a full-time job pays a living wage, where working families have the support they need to survive and thrive and where retirements are secure.”

Strategy in Rural Economic Development

STRATEGY is not merely a fancy word. It is a way of doing business that differs from the ordinary.  A strategy is a plan that links together the available resources—organizational, human, financial, and other—in reasoned sequences and combinations to achieve a desired objective.

A real strategy therefore requires at least these elements: a clearly understood objective, a reasoned plan for achieving it, the ability to mobilize and manage resources in accord with the plan, and an understanding of how actions taken in support of the plan can be expected to interact with the context in which action is taken.  A strategy that lacks these elements is more likely to be wishful than effective.
Elements of a National Strategy

What kinds of strategies might we use to address rural problems?  Two appear to have promise:  building new economic strengths and developing effective marketing.
Building new economic strengths.

An obvious strategy to counter rural America’s loss of comparative advantage in low-wage manufacturing and natural resource production and extraction is to develop new competencies. The objective of this strategy is to build comparative economic advantage in a new industry, or in a new product or service line within an existing industry.
Distance from markets remains a major obstacle to rural development. Rural producers are cut off from information about input and product markets and their goods and services are more costly or difficult to trans- port. By producing goods that have an edge over the competition—goods with especially high quality.

By showcasing a uniqueness, or Possessing the materials, products or ability to meet a specialized need—rural America can create a market for its goods that over- comes transportation costs.
One means of achieving this is by applying the Nation’s investment in technology to create new goods and services whose technologically based edge cannot readily be duplicated by the competition. Technology can lead to this result in two ways. It can lead to the development of new products that, because they em- ploy new technologies, have a creative edge.  And it can be applied to develop advanced methods of pro- ducing low-tech products and services, thereby im- proving efficiency and cutting costs.
A focus on new technologies does not substitute for developing and producing competitive products. On the other hand, a focus on existing technologies, with- out thinking beyond the limits they impose, may preclude a wider range of economic possibilities. Technology has the potential to position the rural economy as a producer of goods and services that the world wants to buy, and is willing to pay well to get. How- ever, to be effective, it is essential that we focus squarely on the outcome we desire—a competitive rural economy—and not on certain inputs, such as particular technologies or industrial products for which we would like to find uses.
Developing effective marketing. Producing more competitive goods and services will work only if rural areas also are able to sell what they produce. Rural areas will become better off when they develop the ability to sell to high-value markets. The second strategy, then, is to help rural America position itself to sell to these markets.

Business Strategy Sphere
The essential ingredients to building an effective rural marketing response include understanding marketing strategies and opportunities, and having the ability to create and implement those strategies.

*(J. Norman Reid is Director, Strategy Development Staff, Rural Development Administration, USDA.  This article is based on his speech given at USDA’s Agriculture Outlook Conference).