Economic development and growth is something that benefits a wide range of people. “Real estate brokers will benefit from an increased number of transactions. Property owners will benefit from increased demand for land and structures. Retailers will benefit from increased sales resulting from increased personal income” (Levy, 270). As one can see from this quote, economic development is of great importance to local residents and municipalities as well as for larger states and federal programs. Most economic development organizations take place at the local level and this seems to be the place that most focuses and is effected by economic development. Communities care about working towards increased economic development for several reasons which include; employment, property tax relief, and because it is good for overall sectors of business. Urban planners and economic developers are linked and must work together in the pursuit of economic development through issues of “public investment in infrastructure, land-use controls, environmental regulations, and anything else that affects the what and where of industrial and commercial development” (Levy, 271).
The planner’s role in economic development within the municipality manifests in a number of ways. They must guide towns and different communities on how to best plan and set themselves up to attract business, including firms looking to plant themselves in a new location. Towns must “sell” themselves to these companies hoping to sway them into settling in their community. They must also be concerned with making themselves visible and known to these firms to get their attention in the first place. Communities can use subsidization for development which helps reduce property tax for commercial or industrial development, thus making themselves attractive to a firm. This though may cause the problem of making themselves a good location choice for one company but not for others, because funds are limited and communities have to have the money to do this in the first place.
Currently this kind of economic development planning can be seen through the real-life example of Amazon. The company, Amazon, is currently on a search for a location to build their second headquarters. Many different cities are vying for Amazon’s attention and trying to persuade Amazon that their city is where they should settle. These cities are putting in bids, for Amazon which include tax breaks and many monetary benefits for the construction and overall being of this company. An article from CNN talks about how Amazon is so much controlling these different states and communities in this race to win them over, that eventually wherever they choose “Amazon doesn’t pay the state. The state pays Amazon.” Amazon is looking for a state that will meet their needs and many requirements which include; “convenient access to mass transit and an international airport, a highly educated labor pool, a strong university system and a diverse population.” Wherever Amazon’s new headquarters end up, will without a doubt, impact the community and the residents of wherever they land in many ways. They will bring with them many new jobs in the thousands, and economic boom, but there will also be impacts of transportation and traffic and other issues that will affect the local surrounding area of this new building and company. These are all factors that the planner must take into consideration when planning for amazon to come into a new municipality and for the town to process when putting in a bid for Amazon.
Check out this article which describes the competition of cities regarding Amazon: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/20/these-cities-may-win-war-for-amazons-new-headquarters.html
source: Contemporary Urban Planning, by John M. Levy