Planning for the development of the economy of an area is a very important aspect that most people overlook. Planning isn’t just creating a physical setting, its creating a place and a community. Planners don’t just wonder what something will look like when it’s done. They want the area to thrive because of the improvements they have made to it. Planning is a comprehensive field in which all of the aspects of a community need to be considered.
For example, in Camden, New Jersey, a struggling city across the river from Philadelphia, the government has offered a $1.3 billion incentive to develop in the area. This incentive is based behind the reading of this week about how economic development can be encouraged by the government and planners. The book discusses how governments can provide subsidies or tax breaks to companies that develop in certain areas under certain conditions. These conditions may be providing affordable housing, making eco friendly buildings, or providing commercial and retail space for stores to move in. The actions in Camden are a result of the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, which was very controversial. Tara Nurin explains from NJ Spotlight, “Three years into the dramatically overhauled incentive program, nearly two dozen private firms have received $1.3 billion worth of credits to build in Camden. That’s out of a total $4 billion approved statewide so far.”
Camden is an area that is desperate for this type of revival and it may seem unfair that this one city earns over 25% of the incentive money provided, but Camden is a special case that is desperate for this development. Many of the companies that are benefiting from these subsidies promise to create job opportunities for the residents of Camden. People hope that bringing in more companies to develop will encourage more and more people to get out of the office and enjoy the many amenities that are coming to Camden. Some of the top companies benefitting from this act are, EMR Eastern, Holtec International, Lockheed Martin, and even the Philadelphia 76ers.
PhillyVoice– A projected image of the new 76ers facility in Camden, NJ.
Revitalizing this city will take much more than simply providing subsidies and incentives for companies to come build, “Some local activists have expressed concern about a proposed shuttle to carry waterfront workers five blocks between the new buildings and downtown,” states Nurin. Through planning and policy changes, the City of Camden has hopes to become a booming city like it had been in the early days of the industrial revolution.