Planning & Community Development

Issues in Economic Development

Top 10 Reasons for Regional Cooperation

Source: NADA News, May 1, 1992

Resource Materials Reasons
1. TO SAVE MONEY Take advantage of economics of scale, especially where fixed costs are high (e.g., infrastructure and equipment) or strong expertise is required.
2. TO DELIVER QUALITY SERVICES Specialized areas often require professions beyond the means of small units of government unless they join others to spread the cost (e.g. planners and 24-hour emergency dispatch) and assure high quality.
3. TO ACHIEVE GREATER POLITICAL CLOUT Regional marketing for tourism and/or economic development permits better media buys and more comprehensive, sophisticated clout in the marketplace.
4. TO ACHIEVE ECONOMIC CLOUT Regional marketing for tourism and/or economic development permits better media buys and more comprehensive, sophisticated clout in the marketplace.
5. TO SOLVE A SPECIFIC PROBLEM Two heads are better than one, and sharing ideas and resources often permits better problem-solving, often at a reduced cost.
6. TO SHARE SCARCE FEDERAL AND STATE RESOURCES Often, state and federal agencies in an era of budget austerity can fund a joint facility or a joint staff position for a new program and thereby serve more people.
7. TO PLAN MORE REALISTICALLY In a global economy, any community is dependent upon other communities in its multi-county region for labor and other resources. Indeed, its economy and other aspects of its life are dependent on its state or multi-state region.
8. TO WORK ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND OTHER CONCERNS Among the "boundary-spillover" effects of modem life are environmental impacts on water, air, and other natural resources. Purely local approaches to most environmental problems do not work. An economic example might be that in an area of solid waste tipping fees, failure to coordinate fees can result in over or under-use of a community's facilities by residents and/or non-residents.
9. TO CREATE A SENSE OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL HARMONY Officials become acquainted through cooperative efforts, develop communication and trust, and reduce inter-jurisdictional conflict.
10. TO COMPLEMENT STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES By drawing on unique strengths and weaknesses of each community, nearby communities can develop a combined strategic package or position which is more balanced; they may complement one another without duplicating.

Economies in Churn

We live in a time of social and economic transition when three different type of economies are mixed together (in churn). The following chart reflects how rural area economies will need to adapt and transform as a result of the shift from an Industrial Economy to a Creative Knowledge Economy (from now to 2025) to a Web/Networked Economy (early signs already emerging).

Industrial Economy Knowledge Economy Web Economy
Small Farms High Tech Agribusiness Network Farms
Recreational Tourism Virtual Market Tourism Virtual Tours
Recruit Manufacturing High Tech Manufacturing Nanotech Manufacturing
Small Downtown Retail B to B Retailing / e-commerce Virtual shop
Recruit Financial Capital Recruit Human Capital Nanocorporations
Standard Skills Innovation Transforming
Basic Skills High Tech Skills Connective Skills
Home Retirement Retirement Communities "Linked-up"
Industrial Parks Eco - Cluster Parks World Share
Quality of Life 1 Quality of Life 2 Quality of Life 3

Underlying Assumptions About the Economy

In the old industrial economy, people believed: In the new creative knowledge economy, people believe:
Being a cheap place to do business was the key Being rich in ideas and talent is the key
Attracting industrial companies was the key Attracting educated people is the key
A high-quality physical environment was a luxury that stood in the way of attracting cost-conscious businesses Physical and cultural amenities are needed to attract knowledge workers
Regions won because they held fixed competitive advantage in some resource or skill Regions prosper if organizations and individuals have the ability to learn, adapt and create new ways
Economic development was government-led Only bold partnerships among business, government, and nonprofit sectors can bring about transformation