Economic development is deliberate actions, policies, and procedures taken by a community to create and retain family sustaining jobs for residents. Economic development includes activities like helping current businesses remain open or expand, attracting new businesses, growing small businesses, making improvements to infrastructure, the business climate, and workforce development.
While economic development focuses on businesses, community development focuses on the needs of local residents. Community development efforts generally include initiatives to keep and attract residents by making the community a better place, improving the quality of life, developing cultural amenities, educational opportunities, social equity, and creating a strong sense of place.
Creating a place where residents have ample opportunities to build their careers, improve their standard of living, and raise a healthy self-sufficient family is the goal of economic and community development.
Successful, economic & community development leads to higher standards of living for residents, more customers for local businesses, and more resources for local governments to provide services such as parks, recreation events, community festivals, quality schools, paved streets, and public safety.
Several different groups often lead various aspects of economic & community development. This is why having a broadly accepted vision and strong coordination is key to success. These organizations are often organized as a public, private, or public-private partnerships.
Ultimately, economic & community development success depends on everyone in a community working together to establish and carry out a vision. Even individuals can affect a community’s long-term success by being a positive spokesperson and volunteering for community improvement teams and projects.