When most people think about the economic development of a town, city or state, they think about jobs – tax incentives to add jobs, training to improve jobs, and infrastructure to support new companies.
But research and practical experience has shown that these efforts alone do not ensure the prosperity of a region. So what is the secret of growing and thriving cities and towns such as Savannah, GA., Asheville, N.C. and Indiana’s Hamilton County or city of Columbus?
These communities have adopted a more holistic approach to economic development. Quite simply, they have worked to become great places to live, focusing on improvements in community design, health/wellbeing, education and the arts.
This more holistic approach goes by many names – “quality of life,” “quality of place” and “placemaking,” to name a few. There are two underlying beliefs that guide these efforts: 1) talent is the single most important element in local economic development and 2) quality of place is the primary factor in a community’s ability to attract and retain talent.
“Primacy of Place” is a term coined by Ball State to describe a community’s strategic decision to improve its economy by dedicating resources to not just create new jobs, but improve life experiences for residents, businesses and visitors.
Check out Ball State’s white paper “The Future of State and Local EconomicDevelopment Policy” and the Project for Public Spaces website to read more about the importance of place.
Anyone who is interested in the arts, culture, sustainability, education, community wellness, tourism, green spaces, neighborhood safety and human services is an important stakeholder in the process of improving quality of life.
Ball State takes great pride in our long history of working collaboratively with communities, businesses, and nonprofits throughout the state of Indiana. For more than 25 years, the experts in the university’s Building Better Communities department have partnered with communities across the state to provide management and professional development programs, training needs assessments, feasibility studies, and survey design and administration.
And our faculty and students embrace the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to develop real-world solutions for business, community and nonprofit organizations. In the last six years, more than 20,800 Ball State students have completed more than 1,250 immersive learning projects, impacting citizens in every Indiana county.
More specifically, Ball State has significant strengths in key areas related to placemaking:
We at Ball State—faculty, staff, and students alike—strongly believe that universities should play a critical role in economic and community development. We are committed to provide exemplary service for Indiana’s citizens, while preparing our students to become our state’s future leaders.
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