Economic Development Recovery and Resiliency Playbook

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Economic development is the creation of wealth from which community benefits are realized. It is an investment in growing the economy that increases revenues for jurisdictions so they can provide services, amenities, and opportunities for their residents in a way that aligns with the community’s vision and values.

While economic development may not be a panacea for every issue facing a community, it is the driving force behind developing and implementing a strategy to create the preferred future of a jurisdiction — whether you are talking about a city, county, state, or nation.

This Playbook is designed to help public-sector leaders think through these issues and focus on resiliency and recovery in a proactive way that recognizes this is not a linear process. Preparedness, response, and recovery activities are part of a resiliency cycle where communities can be engaged in more than one of these at the same time.

Key Takeaways for Economic Recovery & Resiliency

Throughout the Playbook, we have focused on providing tools, tactics, and resources for communities responding to or preparing for an economic disruption. This process should be embraced to ensure the wellbeing and longevity of your community and local economy. Regardless of where you are in the economic development resiliency and recovery cycle, as you embark on your next step, keep in mind the following key takeaways.

  1. Economic developers are at the center of economic recovery and resiliency.
    As the boots-on-the-ground professionals charged with assisting businesses, they can inform policy makers and local leaders on what is needed to create an environment where employers can thrive. Economic development helps increase revenue to the jurisdiction, so it can provide the services, amenities, and quality of life that residents desire.
  2. Recovery and resiliency should focus on constant improvement.
    Given that the resiliency and recovery cycle is not linear, and you can be working on both issues simultaneously, look for opportunities to improve on existing conditions. Recovery is not building back to what once was but working toward a better and more resilient future by addressing issues such as equity, diversity, risk assessment, and disaster mitigation. Use the silver lining of a disruption to improve conditions for residents and businesses alike.
  3. Be strategic.
    A deep understanding of your community’s strengths and weaknesses should provide the foundation for your economic strategies. Know what your community excels at and how to capitalize on these assets, skills, and attributes. This includes using data to inform your knowledge of current and future needs in infrastructure, industry clusters, workforce, and other economic drivers.
  4. Recognize and embrace your community’s diversity.
    Your residents, workforce, and businesses make your community unique. This uniqueness, along with values and culture, will help define what your community needs in recovery and in ongoing resilience planning. Engaging with and listening to all the voices in your community will give you a more holistic, unified vision to guide your economic development strategy.
  5. Collaboration and trust are key.
    Build trust within your community by being a good partner, delivering on promises, and listening to and valuing the voices of residents, business owners, and local stakeholders. Be open to working with a variety of people and organizations to ensure ongoing success. These partners can be found in city or county departments, regional groups, federal and state resource providers, nonprofit and community-based organizations, and others.
  6. Business assistance will help drive economic recovery and resiliency.
    Businesses not only contribute to the fabric of your community, but also employ residents and create economic opportunity. The time spent assisting your businesses with resiliency planning and recovery during disruptions and disasters will help create a stronger, more resilient economy that supports residents who rely on their jobs for stability and their quality of life.

Although we cannot always predict or avoid disasters or economic disruptions, being strategic and planning for resiliency will better prepare your community to meet future challenges that cause economic disruptions and will advantageously position it for a faster recovery.