When you think of community economic development, do you immediately think about clusters and the creative class?
Everything in Its Place: Entrepreneurship and the Strategic Management of Cities, Regions, and States, a new book by Indiana University professor David Audretsch, argues for a more holistic and systematic approach to thinking about economies of place. Written for “policymakers, practitioners and individuals with a mandate to engage in the strategic management of their place,” Everything in its Place is very accessible and highly relevant to anyone with an interest in community economic development.
Audretsch adopts the framework approach from the field of strategic business management and applies it to informing decision makers concerned with the strategic management of place. His framework is based on four elements or approaches: 1) resources or factors of production, 2) spatial structure and organization, 3) the human dimension and 4) public policy.
“This framework certainly incorporates the important valuable approaches of both the creative class and clusters. The main point is that the policy community… has a much broader range of approaches, policy options, and actual instruments than might be implied by any particular singular approach.”
— David Audretsch, distinguished professor and Ameritech Chair of Economic Development, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs
The book cites specific approaches from communities worldwide to illustrate the strategic options that can be pursued within the framework. In many instances, he offers examples of both successful and unsuccessful adoption of the same strategy. The main point is that there is no one best strategy. Each place must realistically assess its strengths and weaknesses, then deploy a set of approaches that take advantage of its unique opportunities.
Audretsch provides a generally optimistic prescription for enhancing economic prosperity. Even if a strategic management approach does not immediately provide positive returns, he suggests that the instruments can always be modified over time to better support the community’s economic goals.