Special Course Descriptions

Ecn 294-11, Local Economic Development

The course will begin with an overview of the physical and socio-economic changes that have occurred in older former industrial cities in Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states over the past 50 years. Most of these once bustling and prosperous cities lost a large share of their population and employment bases as a result of massive changes in our global economy, and many are still struggling to escape from their histories and find a new direction. They are referred to as “forgotten cities” because in the minds of those who fled and many other observers, they are not worth the trouble of saving. They have “failed” and “will never turn around”. With that as a background we will look at local economic development theory, strategies and techniques for revitalization. Here our focus will be on the need for leadership, a vision, strengthening civic capacity, proper planning, social inclusion through community involvement, access to external resources, and changing people’s perceptions and expectations. Our focus will also be on community or neighborhood level economic development, and not on trying to turn around an entire city. The course grade will be based on participation and a student project. For the project, students will choose a town in the region and do an inventory of assets in that town or a small community within a larger city. They will then development strategies for development of that town or community based on the theory and techniques presented throughout the course.