Addressing the Economic Sustainability of Arlington
Economic Sustainability is a fundamental component of Arlington’s Economic Development Strategic Plan “Framework for Prosperity". Strategic initiatives within the plan include facilitating the growth of Arlington’s green economy, maintaining strong fiscal health, focusing efforts on a balanced and diverse economy, and enhancing other sustainable community assets such as culture and arts.
As part of its role to identify important economic development issues and advise the County Board, the Economic Development Commission (EDC) is embarking on its 2010 workplan to examine economic sustainability. The primary objectives of the workplan will be to increase awareness of the economic sustainability of Arlington, assist with individual business needs, enhance Arlington’s business mix and ensure business support systems are functioning with a high degree of sustainability. Measures and indices will be developed to track progress in the achievement of economic sustainability.
The EDC has parsed the complex subject of economic sustainability into three topic areas: individual business sustainability, sustainable business mix and sustainable business support systems. They will investigate the dynamics of each through focus groups with invited experts. The issues in each topic area will be addressed through a series of questions:
- What are the business factors promoting sustainability, as well as those that hinder sustainability?
- What are the most widely used sustainability-related business practices?
- What is the relationship between sustainability and business performance?
- How do sustainable businesses create broad stakeholder engagement that is built on a foundation of sustainable values and alignment?
Sustainable Business Mix
- What firms or industries are successful and established in Arlington?
- How do they sustain economic business cycles?
- What are their top concerns?
- What are the emerging clusters?
- What kind of support do they want from their local government?
- What is our targeted industry mix and underlying structure?
Sustainable Business Support Systems
- What are the community characteristics that attract and retain a high quality workforce?
- Do we have the transportation infrastructure to support the needs of sustainable businesses?
- Do we have the right mix of land uses to attract talent needed by business?
- Do we need to adjust our tax policy to provide the right incentives?
- Do firms need special local government services or technical assistance?
The Economic Development Commission will hold a special Commission work session in early summer 2010 to synthesize information learned the in focus groups and produce recommendations to address concerns and provide opportunities to increase the economic stability of Arlington’s business base. Final recommendations will be developed for presentation to the County Board by the end of the year.