An Economic Development Architecture for New Orleans

An Economic Development Architecture for New Orleans

An Economic Development Architecture for New Orleans

An Economic Development Architecture for New Orleans


In response to the current situation in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this report provides recommendations regarding effective organizational and strategic approaches to revitalizing the city1s economy, identifies the best practices that other cities have used to foster economic development, describes how these practices might be applied to New Orleans, and considers historical trends and past development missteps.


Given the importance of a healthy economy to the welfare of a city’s residents and municipal revenues and services, most large urban communities devote a combination of public and private resources to promoting their areas’ economies. Indeed, in the face of a changing global economy and increasing competition for business, many areas have boosted their economic development functions in an effort to support the growth of local firms and attract new firms—especially high-technology firms—to their regions.

This chapter examines the economic development activities of 17 urban regions to draw lessons from their experiences that might be applied to New Orleans. Our purpose here is not to present detailed reviews of the specific activities of these cities or their development histories, since the applicability of one city’s practices to another’s will depend on specific circumstances and context. the comparison cities were not chosen based on a formal statistical design, and, given both the purpose of this study and the resources available, we do not attempt to construct a systematic mapping from city characteristics to successful development activities. Rather, we are interested in the general lessons we can draw for New Orleans from the design, organizational structure, and implementation approaches of the various cities. We can then use these general lessons, along with information particular to New Orleans, to develop a recommended organizational architecture for that city.

This chapter begins by identifying the areas we examined and the rationale for their selection. It then describes the various motivations behind these efforts; the key components of these development activities, including the varying strategies employed and how these efforts are organized; and, finally, some important aspects of how the programs have been implemented.

Description of Comparison Cities

Several criteria were used to select the comparison cities. First, we chose to focus primarily on cities that, like New Orleans, are located in mid- to large-sized metropolitan areas. Second, the Horizon Initiative had already been in contact with economic development agencies in selected cities and asked that these cities (e.g., Miami, Orlando, San Antonio) be included

At the suggestion of one of the reviewers of this report, we also looked at the experiences of two other metropolitan regions that share New Orleans’s location on a major river: Louisville, Kentucky, and Memphis, Tennessee. in general, the economic development programs in these areas operate similarly to those in the other areas examined. the one notable exception is Louisville’s High Impact Program, which targets high-growth companies for special development assistance. See Greater Louisville Inc. (2007) for more information. For a description of Memphis’s economic development program, see Memphis and Shelby County Office of Economic Development (undated).

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