With the end of the pandemic in sight, now is the time for communities to shift from a let’s survive mindset to a let’s thrive mindset.
To kick this off, Buxton recently held a virtual panel discussion with representatives from the New Orleans Business Alliance, Bedrock Detroit, and Bisnow to discuss what has worked for their communities so far and what advice they have for other communities hoping to innovate and build a foundation for their people to prosper.
Here are three tips and tricks that these community and business leaders recommend.
Tip #1: Consider Placemaking
Over the past decade, placemaking has started coming back, with its largest resurgence happening in the last few years. A powerful tool of economic development programs, placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to planning, designing, and managing public spaces.
These public spaces have the power to bind a community together, attract visitors, and make an area more enjoyable for residents. This is especially important now that remote working has allowed more people to choose where they want to live based on factors beyond their jobs.
As a result, these projects are vital to the infrastructure of a community and can go a long way toward increasing the prosperity of surrounding businesses, bringing new talent into the workforce, and positioning the area as a vibrant and growing center of innovation.
Tip #2: Diversify
A benefit of placemaking is that it draws more talented workers into a community, which supports the execution of our second tip: diversify.
Like diversifying your portfolio in the stock market, diversifying your community’s talent pool and industry mix can help mitigate future risk. Communities relying heavily on their hospitality and tourism industries learned this the hard way when the pandemic hit.
This doesn’t mean to completely ignore your hospitality sector but focus instead on growing other sectors in a way that plays to your community’s strengths and prepares it for the future. For example, think about ways to push your workforce toward green or renewable jobs to promote sustainable growth.
Tip #3: Use Data
Finally, the last tip the expert panel shared was to use data. Not only can data support each of the other best practices mentioned, but it also provides directional insights that are in valuable when it feels like you have a million options.
Whether you plan to evaluate what businesses or tenants to attract, understand who your tourists are, support your mom and pop shops, determine the best use for your ARPA funds, or anything else, using data to help make these decisions will put you on the path to success.
The Bottom Line
However your community chooses to push forward, intentional and consistent communication is important. With your stakeholders, with your tenants and store owners, with your residents and consumers—communicate plans, listen, welcome feedback, learn what’s working, learn what’s not working, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Together, we will thrive and come out stronger on the other side.
Want to hear other tips and tricks from the New Orleans Business Alliance and Bedrock Detroit? Check out the full webinar, “Investing in Growth and Driving Recovery: How to Move Your Local Economy Forward.”