Economic Development and Smart Growth

Arena District, Columbus, Ohio

Rarely are they mentioned in the same sentence, but it’s when smart growth is strategically integrated with economic development do cities see effective results.

The International Economic Development Council took the smart growth bull by the horns and produced a landmark report: Economic and Development and Smart Growth: 8 Case Studies on the Connections Between Smart Growth Development and Jobs, Wealth, and Quality of Life in Communities.

Here are the eight case studies, not all of which are cooltown models:

Commercial Corridor Revitalization
East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA – Revitalized steel mill neighborhood, $385M/$119M private/public investment, 3500 new jobs since 1985, 3900 additional jobs in the near future.
Main Street Program, Burlington, IA – Historic main street revitalization, 500 net new jobs, 396 building rehabs, $37M in private investment, $117M in property appreciation (1986-2004)

Arts and Entertainment District
– Fountain Square, Indianapolis, IN – Neighborhood-based reinvestment in neglected urban district, 77 new jobs, $9.5M initial investment in catalyst projects.
Artist Relocation Program, Paducah, KY – Innovative initiative attracting 62 artists/97 jobs, $15.5M/$1.2M private/public investment with free lots, no down payment loans, mentioned here Jan. ’04.

Transit-Oriented Development
The Brewery Blocks, Portland, OR – Five blocks of new and rehab construction, expensive and chain-driven, but eco-friendly and adjacent to the hip Pearl District, attracting $292/$8M private/public investment.
Silver Spring Downtown Redevelopment, Silver Spring, MD – Between 2000-2010, $1.37B in private investment, 3800 new jobs, with massive 22-block city-driven downtown revitalization, though more suburban in feel than urban.

Targeted Area Redevelopment (Not targeted to the cooltown market)
Arena District, Columbus, OH – 75-acre hockey arena-based corporate-class redevelopment, $500M/$35M in private/public investment, 3600 new jobs.
– Belmar, Lakewood, CO – 103-acre/22 block redevelopment of a shopping mall into a high-end, chain-heavy urban village, $752M/$123M in private/public investment, 7400 new jobs.

Image: Arena District, Columbus, OH. While not a great model for attracting diversity, a good example for placemaking. Still, this is a better cooltown model in Columbus.

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