Archive for the ‘economic development’ Category

THE END OF COUNTRY

March 11, 2017

ENVIRONMENT/CULTURAL CHANGE VS. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTEnd of Country

Not many planners or economic developers have the opportunity to reshape the physical environment changing the pristine environment into high density economically prosperous uses.

These situations typically pit environmental and neighborhood character preservation vs. economic gain.

It’s never a “clear cut’ decision, no “black or white” solution is easily identified to solve an endless number of questions and personal issues of folks concerned.

There are numerous books written about these situations, typically explaining how the economic development initiative has altered, not only the landscape but also the lives of people that live there.

The End of Country is another descriptive exploration of the conflict between economic development and change; both environmental and social.

Author Seamus McGraw chronicles the process of leasing mineral rights from rural country property owners through the making of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, Marcellus Shale natural gas-well royalty recipient millionaires.

McGraw who grew up on the family farm tells the story of his elder mother and her neighbors process of being solicited to lease their mineral rights, the land clearing well drilling site preparations and the transformation of the “rural hill country landscape” of Pennsylvania into an industrialized natural gas collection landscape.

It’s a great read, one that will challenge planners and economic developers to think about the changes brought about by certain economic development actions.

It poses the question…. When is it morally and ethically correct to exploit the natural environment [possibly resulting in non-revertible outcomes] and change the physical and cultural landscape in pursuit of economic development community gain?

It’s a plaguing questions one this writer has explored in other blog posts about books titled: Bulldozed, At the Crossroads and Hollowing out the Middle.

Preparing Next Gen Economic Development Leadership

August 10, 2016

Purdue Northwest Graduates Northern Indiana’s first class of ED Civic Leaders

Picture1In 2006, I was asked to help establish an economic development educational program to be offered as an elective in the Purdue Northwest Masters of Business Administration degree program and teach its capstone class.

While consuming several years to gain academic approvals, the three classes, The Competitive Advantage of a Region, Economic and Social Analysis, and The Process of Economic Development were formulated into a free-standing certificate allowing both full-time MBA and non-credit student enrollment.

This certificate program fulfills an identified need in Northern Indiana – an educational opportunity for a wide-range of community leaders to gain knowledge about the role of economic development in their community.

The Process of Economic Development capstone class activity gives the student a “real life” experience analyzing a preselected community for the location of a new business including a formal presentation of community assets before a panel of representative decision makers of the business made up of the Mayor and several economic development practitioners.

Northern Indiana is truly blessed to have a cadre of upwardly mobile leaders who will undoubtedly serve as volunteer board members for economic development organizations whether they be government, chamber of commerce or nonprofit sponsored and guide their economic development efforts towards success.

This education program prepares students with knowledge of economic development agency operations but also duties and responsibilities of the agency directorship appointment.

This is a “first of its kind” program to train future volunteer economic development leaders in Northern Indiana, a model that surely will be followed by others.