Winter 2011: Placemaking and Economic Development

In this issue of On Common Ground, we consider the role placemaking plays in economic development today. From celebrating the uniqueness of a place to bringing amenities such as food markets to make more complete walkable neighborhoods, placemaking is becoming a leading economic development strategy.

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In This Issue

There was a time when the term “economic development,” as used by most public officials and business leaders, referred to the practice of luring firms and jobs to a jurisdiction by selling companies on the benefits of that community — such as favorable tax rates — and providing monetary incentives to locate there. Now, communities increasingly are realizing that the...

Is a city appealing because it’s prosperous or is it prosperous because it’s appealing?

That may sound like a chicken-or-egg question, but in this case, there’s a right answer — or at least a growing awareness that creating vibrant public spaces is a winning economic strategy.

As a report by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) points out, place has always...

Public Food Markets Enhance the Quality of Life in a Community


Early in the country’s history, Americans bought much of the food they didn’t grow themselves from local farmers at public markets that were a focal point of their communities. Many of those markets faded away in the last century, but now public markets are roaring back.


By Judy Newman


Throughout the United States, housing and commercial construction have slowed to a crawl, as banks have tightened lending and consumers have cut back on spending.

Construction spending nationwide hit a 10-year low of $805 billion in July, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America.


By Steve Wright

Cities benefit from using the arts as an economic development tool.


From almost the beginning of time, the arts have been supported by everyone from monarchs to popes to commoners because of its humane, beautiful, spiritual and life-affirming qualities.

In these challenging economic times, an equal argument can be...

Streamlined Regulations and Urban Design Guidelines as an Economic Development Strategy


In the lore of urban America, Buffalo, NY, is often held up as a poster child for the post-industrial decline of the once mighty cities of the so-called Rust Belt. Founded on the eastern shore of Lake Erie in the late 1700s, Buffalo enjoyed more than a century of boom...

A community’s heritage and diversity spurs home-grown economic development


There was a time when cities and towns looked to developers and manufacturers and the service sectors to bring in jobs and to help revitalize the economy.

But there is a growing recognition that art, entertainment, food and culture can drive change and can generate...

The Creative Class Is Key to Current Economic Development Trends


In today’s evolving economy, the road to prosperity requires an on ramp for the creative class. This well-educated, highly skilled, well-paid group of people, who think for a living, will drive roughly half of all U.S. job growth through 2018, according to author and scholar Richard...

By Steve Wright

Are Science Developments In Harmony or Conflict with Smart Growth?


A high-tech software company wants to bring its company headquarters— and all the great-paying jobs and growth of the 21st century economy with it — to your town.

A research corridor already flush with good, clean jobs could expand to bring...

Medical Centers can draw talent, spur development and revitalize an area


Beyond providing life-saving care and essential research, medical centers are being recognized as powerful economic engines that can drive the development of an entire region and revitalize core urban communities.

“Do we think of hospitals as open and collaborating with...

The Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® (NVAR) believes that building green and focusing on sustainability is important.

But the group, which represents 10,200 REALTORS®, will be the first to work hard to beat back any mandate for green requirements, no matter how big or small.

NVAR Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs Mary Beth Coya says that the...

The village of Waterford’s downtown district has what some would call “good bones.” The Wisconsin village has lakes, rivers, green spaces and a well-traveled, state-maintained highway running through Main Street that makes the village of Waterford easily accessible.

But, as Mike VanderBunt, executive of the Lakes Area REALTORS® Association (LARA) notes, “it...


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About On Common Ground

A free, semi-annual magazine published by NAR, On Common Ground presents a wide range of views on smart growth issues, with the goal of encouraging dialog among REALTORS®, elected officials, and other interested citizens.

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