Using Community Planning & Infrastructure Investment to Become More Competitive
8 Aug 2022
News, Quality of Life
Meeting your community's existing needs while laying the groundwork for its anticipated need is more critical than ever. Meanwhile, the concept of infrastructure is evolving. In addition to being functional, capital improvements now need to be aesthetically pleasing and sustainable. They must also be planned, executed, and publicized to make the community feel more connected.
Strategic Planning & Infrastructure Investments Make Your Community Competitive
In today's economy, it's not enough to ensure your community is business-friendly. You also have to make it people-friendly. When choosing between two comparable communities, quality of life is the tiebreaker. In today's labor market, attracting a skilled workforce is no longer a "chicken and egg" question. People can afford to be selective, so businesses need to be based where people want to live.
The primary needs such as air and water quality, housing costs, school districts, safety, and access to healthcare are a given. Once they're met, the more nuanced quality of life issues need to be assessed and addressed.
Strategic Planning & Infrastructure Investments: Checkpoint
When it comes to using community planning and infrastructure investments to become more competitive, every EDO should periodically ask itself these two questions:
- Is our community attractive by today's standards?
- Is our community playing to its strengths?
Some regions have the advantage of natural amenities like lakes, woodlands, mountains, or a coastline. Some climates are a bigger draw than others. Yet many communities without outdoor recreation meccas or perpetual spring-like days have become magnets for the top talent by finding resourceful ways to compensate and creative ways to portray and publicize their region.
Today's talented workers know they're in demand. They pay more attention to work-life balance and are not interested in moving to Generica. How can you play up your community's uniqueness while also making it feel like home?
The recipe for success today is about finding the right mix. When it comes to creature comforts and convenience, people are more discerning than ever before, and a community's supply must meet their demands. They want an excellent grocery store and a local farmer's market. They want an interesting variety of restaurants, a good gym, and a choice of self-care amenities like day spas and salons. When it comes to shopping, they want unique locally-owned businesses balanced by some major retail establishments. They also wish for quality entertainment, recreation, and cultural activities.
Today's aversion to inconvenience is reflected in people's unwillingness to tolerate traffic congestion and circuitous routes to airports and nearby metropolitan areas. This means that easy access to the interstate is now essential. However, cars aren't the only consideration. Just as people now want an array of choices in goods and services, they also wish for options in transportation. Safe, well-designed walking trails, bike paths, and green spaces are essential investments in community planning and infrastructure.
The pandemic years have forever redefined the way we work and live. Broadband made great strides in becoming available and affordable, and the new infrastructure bill will further that progress. Continuing to invest in broadband is vital to thriving communities because, in addition to attracting a skilled workforce, it adds micro-businesses and remote workers who can choose to live anywhere to the mix. In addition, broadband enhances every community by improving access to healthcare and education.
The rewards of investing in community planning and infrastructure come full circle and snowball. The more attractive a community is, the more prosperous it becomes. The more prosperous it becomes, the more opportunities it offers. . . and so on. Not to mention that jobs create more jobs.
Though you may have a solid sense of your community's needs, it's crucial to conduct a thorough needs assessment to determine the economic impact of your proposed infrastructure investments, identify ways to fund your plan and make a compelling ask for the funding. Convergent Nonprofit Solutions is one of the effective partners your organization can have in this process. Their expertise takes the guesswork out of the process while lightening your workload during that critical phase.
Once your infrastructure investments are underway, getting the word out is important. Golden Shovel Agency specializes in helping communities tell their stories in an honest, memorable, and effective manner. To learn more, contact us today.
About the Author
Connect with Caroline on LinkedIn
Caroline Sposto is a Copywriter for Golden Shovel Agency. Caroline creates content and shares stories for Golden Shovel. She enjoys working with economic development organizations and learning about communities she's never heard of before, and hearing about the clients' success stories.