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Concentration in Economic Development Planning

Concentration Coordinator: H. Renski

Economic development is the process by which communities secure the resources necessary to provide for and sustain economic opportunities for their residents. New technologies and global trade have altered the competitive landscape of business—creating new opportunities for some cities and towns while posing great challenges for others. Economic developers continue to deal with the on-going challenges of aging infrastructure, persistent disparities between metropolitan suburbs relative to inner-cities and rural places, dislocated and underemployed workers, and growing income inequality. Rapid environmental change potentially poses an even greater challenge, as planners and economic developers must now balance the demands for economic growth with the demands for environmental sustainability.

The field of economic development has undergone rapid changes, as well. In the past, economic development was primarily a profession of place marketing, real estate development and the use of financial incentives to recruit mobile businesses from other regions or states. Today, the most successful regions are those that have developed the capacity for spawning innovation and entrepreneurship. Successful economic development in today's environment requires a greater understanding of the forces that are driving economic change. It also entails a long-term, integrated, and strategic approach to economic development planning that mobilizes all the institutional and policy resources that the region has to offer: development finance tools, workforce development programs, funds for financing new businesses, technical assistance with product commercialization and technological modernization, university R&D and technology transfer, natural assets and amenities, not to mention the regional strengths of businesses and the workers themselves.

The economic development concentration at LARP provides students with a strong foundation needed to become leaders in the growing field of economic development planning. The curriculum integrates theory, methods and practice. Topics of study include state and local economic development policy, science and technology- and entrepreneurship-based economic development, challenges of rural economic development, workforce development, industrial planning, public and private developmental finance, applied economic and spatial analysis.

Core Courses:

  • Economic Development Issues in Planning (RP 643) Spring (1st year)
  • Spatial Analysis and Regional Development (RP 693G) Fall (2nd Year)

Possible electives include:

  • Independent study and research in Economic Development (RP 696)*
  • Urban Policies (RP 577)
  • Growth Management (RP 645)
  • Real Estate Law and Development Finance (RP 692R)
  • Planning Tools and Techniques (RP 652)
  • Microeconomics for Public Policy and Administration (PubP 605)
  • Public Economics ( PubP 606)
  • Topics in Urban and Housing Policy (PubP 697BB)
  • Business and Its Environment (SOM 783)
  • Tourism Planning and Development (HT-MGT 633)
  • Economic Development: Structural Problems (ECON 765)
  • Economic Development: Policy Issues (ECON 766)
  • Spatial Data Analysis (GEO- SCI 591D)
  • Rethinking Economy (GEO- SCI 660)
  • Housing and Urban Development (GEO- SCI 670)

Other electives courses will be considered, subject to permission of the Economic Development Concentration Head and Regional Planning Program Director.

* Independent studies require prior approval of the Economic Development Concentration Head and the faculty supervisor. The proposed independent study is expected to address a topic of mutual interest to both the student and the instructor.