15 Jul 2018

Placemaking and Work in the New Economy

fyi – GA’s Energy Cities at Work

2nd Quarter, 2018

Jason Broadwater, consultant, author, and industry expert suggests there is a paradigm shift underway in how communities practice successful economic development.  With innumberable nuances in this new way of thinking, among the most critical is a fresh view of the interplay between workers, workplace and placemaking.

Workforce development initiatives, particularly for future generations, operate within a different model. In Broadwater’s concept, employees adopt the role of consumers in the worker-workplace relationship. It’s mostly inverse to the current relationship. Employees are “choosing” rather than being chosen.

The current workforce is aging and retiring and millennials tend to choose work, not a job, and even may want a fulfilling life that may not be money driven. There is nothing productive in millennial bashing for owning a different world view. Rather, employers need to discover how to be attractive and innovative for these workers.

Employers need to consider an initial hook or lure to attract workers and then create the “2-sided stickiness” to keep the relationship going forward. Entice the “consumer” and then inspire loyalty. Does that sound like an innovative workplace? Youth may not be choosing manufacturing opportunities because they “can’t see the job.” On the contrary, we see the work of a nurse; that we can observe. If an employer applies our new model, a hook from a manufacturer might be an apprenticeship initiative. Build your talent. Be creative. Make an investment that pays off in people.

A third element for successful economic development is placemaking and it is a hugely popular concept with planners and urban designers. When a community invests in services and amenities, it helps create a sense of place, a desirable place to work and live. Amenities recruit talented people, as well as entice those already at home to stay.

A provocative thought – Will your community consider – that economic development at its core is really mostly about quality of life?

Broadwater’s book, Old Town, New World, describes what a successful city looks like in the new economy.

Learn more about GA’s Energy Cities in this issue of ‘fyi’ including information about the Edge Development Program, industry insights and new city initiatives.

fyi GA’s Energy Cities at Work – 2nd Qtr 2018