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
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