I attended this forum yesterday hoping to learn more about good, productive economic development, the kind that has less impact on the area’s infrastructure and contributes more to the overall economy and region. From a real estate perspective, I noted a few items:
- The region’s high quality of life (QOL) is driving our economy.
- There is a distinct difference between understanding economic development and implementing said development.
- The region has significant underemployment.
- Maintaining the balance between high quality growth/population growth and our high QOL is of utmost importance. Courting low-impact industries such as biotech and high-tech are part of that balance. (Listen at 1:00)
- The differences between a tech-based economy and an innovation-based economy are clear and muddied at the same time. There is overlap between the two, but understanding the difference can be the difference between success and failure.
Our region is facing a crossroads in our development. Albemarle’s joining TJPED should help in that endeavour. Looking at our growth from a regional point of view is vital – both from an economic point of view, infrastructure/transportation point of view and environmental point of view.
One of the best quotes from the forum was by Dr. Catherine Renault when she said that “shift happens.” While we want to protect our QOL while the inevitable shift occurs, better to be proponents of that smart growth and change rather than passively watching it happen. (If any of these companies want help relocating their employees, feel free to contact me.)