Understanding Community Economic Growth and Decline : Strategies for Sustainable Development book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Community Economic Growth and Decline
Strategies for Sustainable Development

ISBN 9781032095301
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
382 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $42.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book presents a fully comprehensive look at what all communities—large and small, urban and rural—can do to grow and sustain their local economic bases. It examines the causes of economic decline for localities as well as the economic “product” being marketed to employers, the process of growth, and the means of sustaining economic growth over time. Drawing on the experiences of hundreds of communities and hundreds of leaders around the United States, Understanding Community Economic Growth and Decline outlines the various strategies that have or have not worked to enable or support a general local economic recovery. Exploring many facets of growth and re-growth following periods of economic decline, and offering practical, real-life tactics that have been successfully employed in local and regional economies across the US, this book is required reading for community planners and administrators, those currently working in public administration, and students studying regional planning or economic development.

Table of Contents


Part I. An Examination of Existing Theories of Community Economic Growth and Decline

1. Competing Theories of Community Economic Growth and Decline

2. A Brief History of Economic Growth and Decline

3. Growth versus Development

4. In Search of a New Understanding

Part II. Why Local Economies Must Grow: Causes of Increasing Demand

5. Economic Stasis: "We Don’t Want to Grow; We Want to Stand Still"

6. Global Forces on Local Economies

7. National and State Forces that Impact Local Economies

8. Over-Dependence on a Single Company or Single Industry: Case Studies

Part III. The Impacts of Insufficient Local Economic Growth

9. Impacts on the Secondary and Tertiary Economies

10. Reaction Times and Waiting Until it is Too Late

11. Community and Citizen Responses

Part IV. Enhancing the Local "Product"

12. Preparing and Selling the Product

13. Physical Requisites for Economic Development

14. Matching Communities to Optimal Business Development: The "Right Kinds" of Jobs

15. Institutional Growth and Economic Development

16. Building Amenities to Drive Growth

17. Rural Communities and Small Town Economic Development

Part V. The Process: Initiating and Sustaining Local Economic Growth

18. Vision, Planning, and Selling the Plan

19. The Timing of the Process

20. Team-Building, Budgeting, and Professionalism

21. Creating Strategic Alliances for Growth

22. Image, Awareness, and Selling Communities for Employers

23. Managing Internal Expectations

24. Managing Inter-Jurisdictional Relationships

25. Business Incubation and Entrepreneurialism as an Economic Growth Generator and State Development Programs

Part VI. Sinclair Lewis Redux: It Can Happen Here 

26. Preparing Communities for Economic Development

27. Conclusions and Actions/Recommendations

View More



Gerald L. Gordon is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Authority in Fairfax County, Virginia, USA.


"Gordon provides an extraordinarily wise and compelling take on the complexities of economic planning in our time. In order to thrive, his research demonstrates, we must learn to account for eventualities we can’t anticipate. How? Implicitly, the book is an argument for education that prepares the next generations to recognize the astounding dynamism and interconnectedness of our world."

Zofia Burr, George Mason University, USA


"This book addresses a timely issue that impacts all communities, presenting the findings of extensive research and years of practical experience. It is a great choice for both the scholar and the practitioner seeking answers to modern day questions in economic development. A thoughtful exploration of the topic that is also an interesting read weaving together theory and real-life examples."

Kendra Stewart, The College of Charleston, USA


"In a time when federal and state funding for localities is declining, it’s imperative that these communities take a proactive and strategic approach to economic growth. Jerry Gordon’s book is a must read for those studying economic development and those practitioners living it on a daily basis."

Dr. Matt Shank, Marymount University, USA