Leading financial and development stakeholders in the United Kingdom are exploring how U.K. financial institutions can expand their capacity to effectively make place-based impact investments. This paper synthesizes lessons from the United States, where financial institutions have a longer history of engaging in economic place-making, in the hopes it can inform efforts to grow the practice in the U.K. The paper begins with a discussion of two frameworks – market-based development and development finance – which are the respective principles and specialized approaches that inform the roles of financial institutions in place-based investment. It then dives into each of the three roles for financial institutions in economic place-making: direct provision of financial products, indirect investing through intermediaries, and capacity building. It concludes with an examination of governmental programs and policies to support community investments by financial institutions, followed by a discussion of the key insights and potential implications for the U.K.

This presentation was the basis for an Economic Mobility Roundtable discussion in Atlanta, co-hosted by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and the New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN). The presentation addresses how the changing dynamics of neighborhoods within regions in the emerging economy create opportunities to drive economic mobility through specific inclusive growth strategies and practices.  Discussion by an accomplished, cross-disciplinary group of leaders from across the country followed, brainstorming new initiatives to address economic mobility in Atlanta – as well as other urban and rural communities across the United States.

Following a detailed market analysis of the metals, machinery and equipment (MM&E) sector in the South Suburbs of Cook County (the “Southland”), this concept paper proposes an intervention to re-establish the Southland as an economic driver of MM&E growth in the Chicagoland region. The proposed Metals Hub (working title: Southland Metals, Inc.) is an industry-organization that aims to create new collaborative supply chains so that firms can enter new markets and increase their revenue generation – in addition to building technology-enabled competitiveness. In the next phase of work, which is underway, the project is engaging industry leaders, creating a detailed business and operational plan, and will be launching the Hub.

Researched and published with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this report from Mass Economics and RW Ventures offers insight on innovative and potentially more effective opportunities for corporate engagement in community and economic development. Corporations can learn of new possibilities for mobilizing their expertise, resources, activities, and investments to enhance their business success while also achieving community benefits. Communities can gain understanding of how to identify and design development opportunities best suited for corporate engagement, while philanthropy can better define its role in catalyzing and scaling more effective corporate-community collaboration.

The practice of business-aligned community and economic development (CED) was further explored in a 2024 convening of 70 business leaders. For a summary of proceedings, please visit: National Corporate Convening: Business Opportunities in Community and Economic Development.

ScaleUP Sacramento presents a framework and action agenda to generate inclusive economic development for the Sacramento region. Building from and supplementing existing studies of the region’s major assets and economic opportunities, ScaleUP Sacramento results in nine mutually reinforcing, transformative strategies and associated initiatives to make Sacramento an inclusive and prosperous place to work, live and play. Leading initiatives include a food innovation park, bioscience manufacturing park, diversifying ownership scale-up fund and a mission-driven “master developer” to target new inclusive industrial development projects.

The City of Charlottesville has been increasingly confronting its history of racial inequality, spurred in part by the events during the Summer of Hate, especially on August 12, 2017. The city funded the creation of a Community Vision Plan (CVP) for the Starr Hill neighborhood, which was once the location the city’s black business district before urban renewal work in the 1950s and 60s demolished much of the area. Through extensive community outreach and engagement and analysis of regional and neighborhood growth opportunities, this CVP emerged with strategies to guide Starr Hill’s trajectory and influence how it connects more fully to the broader Charlottesville economy. The work also extended its scope to all of Black Charlottesville, identifying opportunities for those populations in and around Starr Hill to participate in and drive the growth and prosperity that Charlottesville is generally experiencing, but which has yet to fully connect to and benefit all of the city’s residents and businesses. 

The “Opportunity Corridor” is a roadway connecting Cleveland’s two most significant hubs of economic activity: downtown and University Circle. It traverses a diverse set of neighborhoods that are well-located and asset-rich, but long-disinvested. More than just a major investment in transportation infrastructure, the Opportunity Corridor has the potential to reshape the economic geography of northeast Ohio for decades to come. This report understands and triangulates: (1) neighborhood characteristics and desired trajectories; (2) viable new economic uses grounded in regional markets; (3) developable land – to realize the full potential created by the Opportunity Corridor.

As major transitions in the global economy create new challenges and opportunities, new strategies for driving economic growth are emerging that are often broader in scope, larger-scale, more comprehensive and cross-sectoral. This emerging practice, in turn, calls for new institutional infrastructure and financial tools to support its effective management and implementation. This paper – informed by interviews with, and a convening of, the nation’s leading development authority practitioners and experts – begins to explore the implications of these realities for the design and practice of development authorities to support the next generation of transformative and sustainable economic development.

A national movement is growing to support and affect the trajectories of “middle neighborhoods” – a distinct type of neighborhood described as “on the edge between growth and decline…. where housing is often affordable and where quality of life… is sufficiently good that new home buyers are willing to play the odds and choose these neighborhoods over others in hopes they will improve rather than decline.” On the Edge, a volume of essays on middle neighborhoods edited by Paul Brophy, includes a chapter by Bob Weissbourd, “Understanding Middle Neighborhoods as Vital Parts of Regional Economies.” The chapter describes the changes spurred by the transition to the next economy, and the effects of those changes on how middle neighborhoods relate to their regions and how they play their roles as Communities of Opportunity and Choice. This piece was also published in Community Development Investment Review  (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; August, 2016).

Economic development professionals are beginning to think differently about how they create stronger neighborhoods, cities, and regional economies. They are applying an asset- and market-based development framework, which entails “growing from the inside out.” By applying this framework to the dynamics of the 21st century economy, they are concentrating on the synergies between fostering complementary assets in metropolitan areas: human capital, business, innovation, and infrastructure. And they understand that a key new dynamic is the need to align economic growth and inclusion – that is, sustainable growth requires inclusion and vice versa. This paper offers a summary of the new thinking underway in the field and describes some of the emerging practices. For more on inclusive growth, see the New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN) website at www.newgrowth.org.