Economic Development

Economic development is vital for most communities. But what kind of development and where it best fits are often challenging questions.These articles & postings consider various aspects of planning for local economic development.

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photo of Ed McMahon

Where Am I? The Power of Uniqueness

What’s the value of uniqueness and community identity? That’s the question ULI analyst — and long-time Planning Commissioners Journal columnist — Ed McMahon addresses in his dynamic 17-minute TED Talk.

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.

Rail Redux - Part 2

Rail Redux – Part 2

Is a rail resurgence just around the corner? There are some positive signs, as rail-related projects are being planned and implemented across the country.

image from All Aboard Florida web page

Rail Redux – Part 1

Deepa Sanyal considers the value rail stations hold to communities, and offers a glimpse of some exciting rail-related development projects in the works.



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 - watering a healthy native species plant

Native Species

Your home grown businesses are the ones that are adapted to your community’s social, cultural, and economic environment — and are often in the best position to anticipate and adapt to changes in the world surrounding them.