Economic development in the 21st-Century is about cultivating quality live-work-play environments that attract, retain and grow a diverse and skilled population. Employers and businesses are increasingly choosing to make long-term investments in places that connect and engage people to strengthen economic competitiveness and promote innovation. Livable Centers offer a multitude of opportunities to position live-work-play investments to create the thriving economic engines of our local and regional economies.

Economic development recommendations from past Livable Centers studies and specific area plans for small towns were evaluated and summarized into the Economic Development Toolbox. The tools are specific strategies and opportunities for local planning and development organizations to facilitate private growth and development in their communities. The tools are organized into three primary categories—Policy & Programs, Incentives, and Capacity Increase—and each tool includes specific examples of implementation in a local context.

Policies & Programs

Use municipal plans, policies or projects to alter the look, feel and vibrancy of live-work-play areas:

Incentivizing Investment

Encourage increased private investment in your community:

Expanding Capacity through Partnerships

Cultivate more live-work-play activity in your community by understanding the landscape of potential partners investing your community, such as: