hat’s all the talk about “localism” lately? My guess is it’s a reaction to real or perceived overreach on the part of state and federal policymakers.
On a rare and recent visit to my office, there were three books waiting for me that had been sent to me earlier in the year — all on the topic of localism. The first was “Rebooting Local Economies — How to Build Prosperous Communities” by Robert H. Pittman, Rhonda Phillips and Amanda Sutt (2022, Business Expert Press). It’s an excellent guide for local officials and economic developers on building and maintaining prosperity with many examples of this being done successfully.
The second was “Hyperlocal — Place Governance in a Fragmented World,” edited by Jennifer S. Vey and Nate Storring (2022, Brookings Institution Press). It explores how changing socioeconomic circumstances require inclusive economic growth policies and structures to ensure local prosperity.
The third was “Small Isn’t Beautiful — The Case Against Localism” by Trevor Latimer (2023, Brookings Institution Press). It makes the case that the meaning of localism depends on who you ask, and that it’s a rather over-hyped notion.
Of the three, “Rebooting Local Economies” is the most relevant to us. The critical role of economic development offices — local or otherwise — is thoroughly explained. What roles does your organization play in driving local prosperity? The jobs created and taxes paid are two obvious ones. Supporting local events and causes may be another. But working with state and local economic development groups to help get the word out to others about the advantages of doing business where you do should not be overlooked.
If your location is ideal because of its access to the right infrastructure or proximity to research institutions or availability of affordable housing, join forces with those marketing your location to help attract companies like yours to it. Site Selection articles are effective because of their large amount of input from decision-makers explaining why their facilities are where they are. See if there is a way you can participate in economic development efforts locally. Helping attract more capital investment — and jobs — to your area is what will produce local prosperity.
Quality of life is a critical part of location success. You’ll want to know what some site consultants have to say about that in the Quality of Life feature in this issue. And our annual Canada’s Best Locations and Global Groundwork Index also shed light on prosperous communities that companies like yours helped make happen.
Till next time,
Mark Arend, Editor in Chief