Across cities of different sizes, whether thriving or not, a report by Boston University’s Initiative on Cities titled “Mayoral Policy Making: Results from 21-st Century Mayors Leadership Survey” shows that mayors across the country are chiefly concerned with economic development, quality of life, and urban infrastructure.
The extent to which mayors are able to clarify the relationship between all three of these factors – identifying policies that leverage urban infrastructure to improve quality of life as a deliberate tool for economic development – will determine their ability to cultivate, retain, and attract a diverse, talented workforce. While this relational approach can be applied in cities across the country, specific policy recommendations should be highly local in their implementation. Cities that are able to identify and leverage their own unique assets – as diverse as a landmark park, a historic legacy, or a robust transportation system – will differentiate themselves as possessing universal attributes of a great place to live that are housed within one-of-a-kind forms. Authenticity, above and beyond appropriation, is key for continued success.
Economic development also includes providing the physical, social and policy framework to allow and encourage existing companies - and their workforce - to age in place. While it is a worthy goal to attract talent and innovators, the effort should not come at the expense of, or in lieu of, cultivating those already in the local economic ecosystem that may become the next innovators and major job creators.
For more about the Initiative on Cities report, visit: http://www.bu.edu/ioc/2014/10/07/initiative-on-cities-releases-first-national-survey-of-mayoral-priorities/