For Success, Know Your City

25 Apr

by Katherine Perez

Today, the competition among cities across the globe is fierce. The challenge to meet increasing demands for growing populations in an ever-changing environment of technology, science and innovation has pushed cities to try and become hubs of tech start-ups and creative companies. The complication is that not all cities are brimming with crowds of graduates hovered over computers in garages sitting on top of the next Facebook or Google. Nonetheless, all cities have the potential to be successful cities.

The trouble is that most city officials and city leaders don’t know their communities well enough to know what new entrepreneurs need to grow their businesses. In his book titled Who’s Your City? author and urban commentator Richard Florida studies the value of place as a precursor to personal and professional success. While there has been skepticism about the validity of Florida’s premise, the point is worth noting. Who makes up your city can be the strongest predictor of its success.

When one understands the “who” of their city, one’s role in promoting the city is much clearer. There are champions of cities at various levels, including elected or appointed officials, staff representatives or community leaders. All have important contributory roles in creating successful cities, but they don’t do the same thing at the same time. Having a clear understanding of one’s role in the hierarchy of business creation and attracting entrepreneurial activity is critical to an effective outcome.

The last and most important element is elevating your city. Lifting a city takes many hands but it is the center point of all urban success stories. Creating a coordinated strategy for the major actors, with their roles clearly outlined, with a script that tells the story of the greatest future city is the best guarantee for a successful outcome.

ELP Advisors’ Katherine Perez will be a presenter and facilitator at the upcoming Leadership Training Institute seminar. The event, held in Manhattan Beach on May 17-19, will focus on “Formulating Effective Economic Development Policy, Marketing, and Communication Strategies.” Check out the National League of Cities website for more information and to see the full text of Katherine’s article above.

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