What's novel for us is the pace and nature of these changes, in terms of a forced new lifestyle, signifying our modernity, acceptance, and therefore our corporatised survival skills. Have you morphed into the modern Corporate Homo- erectus?
Fernando Centeno, Author at NewStart
All we do is support, subsidise, carry, and defend corporations; they hijacked the community economic development term long ago from the public sector and call their efforts 'economic development'. But in fact, they simply carry out business development activities, joined by urban planners and their built environment agenda.
Cleveland planners publicly challenged favourite urban nostrums. They not only survived, they prospered. Ultimately, their efforts impacted the teaching of planning to some degree; many continued their professional careers in this arena. Equity planning remains an alternative model of agency operations, for those interested in breakthrough approaches.
Simply put, economic development is not practiced in the U.S. What is practiced can honestly be described as Chamber of Commerce commercial development, which accommodates business interests for the sake of 'growth' and 'development', to the joy of public and civic officials, at great public expense in the form of abatements, exemptions, subsidies, and write-offs.
As funds are scarce, competition great, and the role of government a topic of hot debate, 'effectiveness' will become the key metric to future survival.
More than ever, we need strong, articulate leadership. We need someone who understands the difference between business promotion, development, or activities and demand-led economic development.
The view that ‘market forces’ are insufficient for our needs is significant. It opens the door for public planners to fill this void, in ways which better leverage scarce resources toward greater public outcomes, of the nature I have discussed before. Will we rise to the occasion?
I am not optimistic about the odds, as I see that economic public policy is stuck in the paradigm of the last, industrial-based century, and being led by people who are comfortable with a narrow understanding of the power and potential of what economic development can be - multi-faceted, interdisciplinary, and integrated - for greater results than we currently see.
Knowing how precarious our economic conditions will continue to be, we should be working as 'Economic Development Practitioners Without Borders', moving in to stabilise fragile economic regions. If this approach worked after World War II, why can't it work now?
Let's listen and learn from ED practitioners who are on the front lines. Refrain from listening to journalistic pundits, politicians, economists, and business leaders; they are not in our business. They have a role to play, but as partners.