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Welcome - Issue 17

Welcome to the latest edition of the EconomicDevelopment.org Newsletter. Want to share comments or questions about EconomicDevelopment.org? Get in touch with us at connect@economicdevelopment.org. We'd love to hear from you! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest

- The EconomicDevelopment.org Team

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Featured Contributor: Ed Morrison

Ed Morrison

By Tarryn Landman

In this edition of our Featured Contributor series, I had the opportunity to chat to Ed Morrison about his work in the economic development field.

Tell me how you first got involved in economic development? How long have you been in the field? Where are you now?

My professional career started on Capitol Hill in the 1970’s, when competitiveness issues were just starting to emerge on the national scene. I spent much of the first ten years of my career working on tax and trade issues. By the early 1980’s I was staff counsel on the Senate Democratic Policy Committee working on these issues. I left after a short time in that position, when I concluded that policy making in Washington had gotten stuck in partisan politics.

I went to work for a corporate strategy consulting firm. Working with clients like General Electric, Volvo and Ford, I got to see the early wave of globalization from the inside. As these companies were beginning to build global manufacturing networks, I started to see the devastating consequences of plant closings on communities and regions. Realizing that these communities and regions were not being well served by existing consultants, I decided to start my own consulting business to help these communities adjust to the pressures of globalization. That was about 1984.

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Want to market your city? Build relationships

By Joshua Hurwitz

Bostonians were already worried about their city’s eroding tax base and the looming national recession. Then, in short order, three of the city’s iconic companies- Fleet, John Hancock and Gillette- moved their corporate headquarters away.   Boston needed some aggressive economic development initiatives. In my major research paper (MRP) as a student in the Master of Applied Environmental Studies (MAES) in Local Economic Development at the University of Waterloo, I examined one response to the crisis: Boston World Partnerships (BWP), the city’s first internally-owned and operated marketing agency.

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Bridging the digital divide in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro beach

By John Jung

Recently I was invited to Pirai, Brazil, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro to participate as a speaker at TEDx Pirai to talk about evolving Smart Cities into Intelligent Communities. Pirai was celebrating the tenth anniversary of its “Pirai Digital City” project, which helped the city to overcome its economic crisis and become one of the world’s most fascinating Intelligent Communities. Decades earlier many thousands of Pirai citizens became unemployed following the sale of the local power company to the private sector. In an effort to seek new ways to create economic prosperity for its community, Pirai’s Mayor Luiz Fernando de Souza used information technology and communications to convert the city’s fortunes. Its “Pirai Digital City” project focused on development of its municipal and educational network. A key part of the program, providing laptops to all of its students throughout the community, has significantly helped to bridge the digital divide. It was this small, but mighty decision that catapulted the community to domestic and later, international fame at the time.  In 2005 Pirai was recognized by the Intelligent Community Forum as one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities in the world. Today, it is a model and inspiration for small communities throughout Brazil and globally.

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How to market your city? Build relationships – Part two

By Joshua Hurwitz

Boston World Partnerships (BWP) was a marketing agency set up as a private-public partnership funded by the City of Boston and Proctor and Gamble (the parent of Boston’s Gillette). The agency had a novel design: it asked its volunteers, called ‘Connectors’, to be more than simply ambassadors for the city.  In Part I, I discussed my research (University of Waterloo major research paper) into BWP’s design- the ways the Connectors were asked to combat the city’s reputation for elitism, mistrust, and hostility to outsiders, by leveraging their social capital (business connections) for the benefit of the entrepreneurs they encountered. Now, I turn to the lessons learned from the operation of this innovative marketing and development strategy. What can we learn from the way BWP operated?

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The world needs a Rural Imperative

By Norman Jacknis

I've spent a lot of time in the last few years helping cities figure out the impact of new technologies and broadband in people’s lives and also helping mayors figure out ways of using those technologies to create new kinds of urban experiences, improve the economy of the community and provide reasons for people to stay and live in their cities.

I now have a wonderful opportunity to expand that work as I have joined the Intelligent Community Forum of New York as the first Senior Fellow with responsibility for the Rural Imperative program. The Rural Imperative focuses on how to use information and communication technologies to build and create a renaissance of rural life. For the first time in history, these technologies make possible rural communities where residents can be as closely connected to the global economy as urbanites.

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What does shared value look like for sports franchises?


It has been twelve years since ICIC developed the anchor institution strategic framework with Dr. Michael Porter of Harvard Business School as a way to think about how large anchor institutions can create beneficial impact in their host communities. Since the publication of Leveraging Colleges and Universities for Urban Economic Revitalization in 2002, ICIC has been at the forefront of developing the theoretical underpinning of a shared value framework that explores the mutually beneficial roles anchor institutions can play in their communities to expand economic opportunities while also delivering value to the institution.

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