Saturday, September 11, 2010

Connecting Livability and Economic Development in Dubuque, Iowa

Welcome back to the APA Economic Development Division (EDD) Blog! EDD took a bit of a break from our blog in August, since many of our contributors were on vacation or just extra-busy with work. Please be assured that EDD is now back with many great posts planned for this Fall. We've recently had two new bloggers join our team, Della Rucker of Jacobs and Joy McGee. You'll be hearing from both of them over the next several weeks, and I'll let them both introduce themselves in their next posts. As always, please feel free to contact us if you're interested in contributing to the blog!

Our first Fall blog post also features the first video that we've posted to the EDD blog. Earlier this year the ongoing PBS series on American infrastructure, Blueprint America, featured Dubuque, Iowa. The former factory town has bet its economic future on sustainable development and smart growth. The city's sustainable development plan is a national model. Dubuque is pursuing all of the hallmarks of smart growth, including complete streets and sustainable transportation, energy efficiency and a riverfront revitalization strategy. The redevelopment of a historic warehouse district is intended to attract young professionals and create affordable, workforce housing to reinvigorate the downtown. Dubuque was named a National Resources Defense Council's 2010 Smarter City for Energy. Late last year IBM announced that Dubuque would serve as the model for its Smarter Cities initiative and that the firm would relocate 1,300 employees to a technology support center in the city by the end of 2010. However, Dubuque's reputation as a green city wasn't the only thing that attracted IBM, but $50 million in state and local incentives also played a role.

However, as you'll see in the video some in Dubuque question whether the IBM move and the investments in creating a livable community alone can generate long term economic growth
. Are sustainability and livablity linked with economic growth in the 21st century, or are they just planning fads? Can downtown redevelopment aid in the retention of educated young people even in a mid-sized Midwestern city like Dubuque? Will the IBM move to Dubuque generate long-term growth? Was the $50 million incentive package given to IBM worth the $100 million IBM investment and 1,300 jobs? The blog team looks forward to reading your thoughts in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Terry Holzheimer, FAICPDecember 11, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    This is a truly remarkable story. We think that our community, Arlington, Virginia is progressive but we sometimes lose site of the fact that others are actually upping the ante every day on integrating urban systems and demonstrating that smart growth is a concept with staying power.