Research & Advisory Practice

Urban economic development initiatives are at the forefront of the national policy agenda: How can we create equitable urban revitalization and foster economic opportunity for inner city residents?

ICIC strengthens inner city economies by providing businesses, governments and investors with the most comprehensive and actionable information about urban market opportunities in the field. Our unique knowledge of inner city competitive advantages and inner city companies is developed from specialized urban networks and path-breaking research and practice.

ICIC’s research on inner city economic development is grounded in economic theory and informed by our real-world advisory and programmatic experience. Our research agenda over the past two decades has positioned our organization as the leading and most trusted resource on inner city economies.

Advancing Inner City Research Priorities

Benchmarking Inner City Performance and Investment: Our proprietary State of the Inner City Economies (SICE) database tracks the economic performance, business vitality and resident prosperity of all 328 inner cities allowing us to benchmark inner cities’ relative performance over time.

Identifying Economic Opportunity Clusters: We partner with the U.S. Cluster Mapping team at Harvard Business School to identify clusters with the highest potential to promote job creation in inner cities.

Creating an Anchored Local Economy: ICIC is recognized as an authority on anchor institutions and our strategic anchor framework has been utilized by numerous anchors and cities to guide their community investment strategies.

Inner City Business Growth: ICIC leverages our proprietary inner city business data and networks to identify critical drivers of inner city business growth and the unique attributes that make inner cities competitive places to do business.

Economic Resilience: ICIC’s research continues to define this nascent field. We are refining our urban food resilience framework and thinking by partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation and applying it to new markets across the country.

Advisory Approach

Our participatory advisory model combines leading-edge analytics with stakeholder input to generate new insights into urban markets.

At the foothills of my career, ICIC armed me with a plan that resonated with the core vision of Newarkers who never gave up on their city. Cory Booker, Former Mayor, City of Newark

Our advisory work builds on the eight-point inner city economic growth plan developed with Professor Michael Porter:

  1. Benchmark inner city economic performance, cluster composition, and the local business base.
  2. Upgrade the inner city business environment.
  3. Engage anchor institutions to create shared value.
  4. Strengthen existing and emerging inner city clusters and better link inner city business to regional clusters.
  5. Support management and leadership education for inner city entrepreneurs.
  6. Connect inner city companies to appropriate growth capital.
  7. Increase inner city company recognition and strengthen business networks.
  8. Expand revenue and contracting opportunities for inner city companies.

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