The Planning Commission at Work

Reinventing Your Community From the Inside Out – Part II

October 19th, 2012

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Local assets often provide strong potential for communities to reinvent themselves from the inside out.

In today’s economy, there are generally limited opportunities to attract industry from somewhere else  -- that is, to grow from the outside in. But local assets often provide strong potential for communities to reinvent themselves from the inside out.

We showed in Part I how cities like Asheville, Detroit, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh have taken cast-off land uses and re-purposed them to spur local entrepreneurship. These success stories didn't just happen. Each case involved a blend of innovation, opportunism, partnership, preparedness, and time.

Grow local, eat local, buy local -- we've all increasingly hearing those words. They reflect a truth: growing consumer awareness and demand is creating new local entrepreneurship opportunities. In turn, creative and interesting options are opening up for communities to solve vacancy and blight while also fostering job creation.

But how can you as a planning commissioner help your community reinvent itself from the inside out?  As with everything else in life, there is no single answer, but there are steps that you can take to proactively position your city or town for locally-driven economic advantage. ...

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photo of the SegedysJim Segedy, FAICP, worked for many years in Ball State University’s Community Based Planning program, providing assistance to more than one hundred communities and many plan commissions (as planning commissions are called in Indiana). He is currently a member of the Edgewood (Pennsylvania) Planning Commission and previously served on the Delaware County (Indiana) Plan Commission.

Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, AICP, is the Associate Director for River Restoration for American Rivers’ Pittsburgh field office. Before moving to Pennsylvania, she spent over a decade as a circuit-riding planner for a regional planning organization serving the western fringe of Metropolitan Atlanta.

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