'Economic Mapping' to Help Regional Planning

Identifying potential hubs and activity centers allows regions to foster economic growth and density.

1 minute read

March 16, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio

Ami Parikh / Shutterstock

"To be economically competitive, state, regional, and local leaders need to align their infrastructure, economic development, and land-use policies to support and grow concentrations of activity, rather than encourage sprawl," write Tracy Hadden Loh and Joanne Kim.

Economic mapping is a strategy that looks at areas based on a range of key measures to bring together regional planning and strategized economic development. In Cincinnati, for example, Plan Cincinnati is a guide for future planning:

Twelve working groups examined the city’s assets and opportunities around key elements ranging from arts and culture to fiscal impact, governance, and infrastructure. Based on the findings, the city mapped existing and potential activity centers and now prioritizes its resources to support their growth. 

Loh and Kim discuss other economic mapping efforts in Portland, OregonNortheast Ohio, and Washington, D.C. "Far more cities and metro areas need to better coordinate their strategies for increasing the quality of existing concentrations of activity, and expand investments into places with potential to become such hubs," they say.

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