photo of Della Rucker

Della Rucker

Della Rucker, AICP, CEcD, is the Principal of Wise Economy Workshop, a consulting firm that assists local governments and nonprofit organizations with the information and processes for making wise planning and economic development decisions. She is also Managing Editor of EngagingCities.

Rucker’s columns for the Planning Commissioners Journal and PlannersWeb have focused on planning and economic development — and on creative ways of actively involving citizens in the local planning process.

During 2014, we’re pleased to be serializing Della Rucker’s excellent new book, The Local Economy Revolution: What’s Changed and How You Can Help. You can access the contents by going to the Introduction to the book — links to chapters of the book, as they are posted, can be found in the left sidebar of that page.

Illustration by Marc Hughes for PlannersWeb - incentives expire in one year.

How to Fix Incentives

Your citizens are sick of throwing their hard-earned tax money — in the form of incentives — at businesses they don’t think give a damn about their community. How can we fix this situation?

Municipal drive thru for incentives. Illustration by Marc Hughes for PlannersWeb

Use Incentives Right

Local governments often turn to the use of various incentives to promote economic development. But are they based on strategies set out in a local economic development plan? (You do have a plan?)

1099er illustration by Marc Hughes for PlannersWeb

1099ers in Your Economy

For many of our communities’ most valuable workers, the very nature of being employed looks nothing like we traditionally think it does. In the U.S., we call many of these folks 1099ers, or freelancers or contract workers.



Della Rucker reflects on a paradox: small businesses thrive on being independent and in charge of their own future, yet small businesses do best when they’re part of a community network that can provide mutual support.

Illustration by Marc Hughes for PlannersWeb - explorers checking the Arctic ice

Dog Sleds and Little Bets

Della Rucker looks at how — within an environment of rapid change — businesses are increasingly making “little bets.” Is this a model that would also work for local government planning and economic development?