The four central objectives of Sustainable Economic Development are sometimes referred to as the Four Greens – Green Savings, Green Opportunities, Green Talent, and Green Places.
A Sustainable Economic Development Strategy accomplishes these objectives by systematically integrating Sustainability with widely accepted Economic Development best practices.
Economic Development Best Practices
Generally recognized best practices for economic development in a city, county, region, or state include:
- Identifying the business clusters in the city or region that are already strong and the nascent business clusters for which there are the preconditions for becoming strong, particularly those business clusters that are effective job producers and wealth producers.
- Assisting existing businesses, particularly those in the identified business clusters, to thrive, while growing new businesses in those clusters.
- Strengthening businesses that produce products and services for export out of the city, community, or region to a national and global market, in balance with city or region serving businesses.
- Attracting businesses, particularly those in the identified clusters, to move to the city, community, or region.
- Encouraging real estate development that locates housing that is affordable near where the businesses are located.
- Promoting the revitalization of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and communities.
- Fostering robust economic, social, and environmental infrastructures in the city or region that provide the financial, workforce development, educational, and resource systems that businesses need.
- Branding and marketing the city or region, highlighting its business clusters and its economic, social, cultural, physical, and natural advantages to attract businesses to locate and grow in the region.
Sustainable Economic Development Best Practices
A Sustainable Economic Development Strategy uses these best practices in a modified fashion to encourage:
- Businesses that specialize in environmental products and services (the Clean Tech Industry Cluster) to start-up, locate, and grow in the city, community, or region.
- All businesses in the city or region to become more energy and resource efficient and, at the same time, more profitable and economically productive.
- Sustainable real estate development to take place – development that is mixed use, energy and resource efficient, low-impact, walkable, and transit oriented.
- The regional financial, workforce, and educational infrastructure to understand sustainable enterprises, in order to encourage investment in the sustainable economy and to prepare people to participate effectively as workers, entrepreneurs, managers, consumers, and investors.
- The regional physical infrastructure to provide energy, water, materials, buildings, and mobility in a way that is both ecologically and economically efficient.
- The city or region to be recognized as a place that is in the forefront of the sustainability revolution, becoming an economically, socially, and environmentally better place to live, work, and locate a business.
Separately, each of these best practices can make a significant contribution to the emergence of Sustainable Economic Development in a city or region. However, by integrating them into a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy, they can show the way to building a sustainable economy that provides strategic economic advantage in the global economy.