Community & Economic Development

As the leading authority on under-resourced communities in U.S. metropolitan areas, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) plays a unique role in local investment and public policy decisions. Applying sophisticated analytic methods to public and proprietary data, our research highlights the strengths as well as the challenges of under-resourced communities and shows how the strengths can be used to address the challenges. We have a proven track record of working with local leaders to help them develop customized, data-driven community and economic development plans.

Our proprietary State of the Under-Resourced Economies (SURE) database maps the economic performance and resident prosperity of all American cities with an under-resourced community, which includes 450 cities with a population of at least 50,000 or principal cities of any size as well as many smaller communities. SURE is an indispensable resource to assess local competitive advantages and set strategies for inclusive economic growth. View a full list of the 450 major cities in the U.S. with under-resourced communities here.

Industrial and Non-Industrial Jobs and Land Use in Saint Paul, MN (Report, 2024). This study, sponsored by the Saint Paul Port Authority, examines industrial land use in Saint Paul, Minnesota and its continued importance in the city’s economy.

From Brownfields to Business Centers: The Evolution of Industrial Land Use in Saint Paul, Minnesota (Blogpost, 2024). Summarizes the major findings of Industrial and Non-Industrial Jobs and Land Use in Saint Paul, MN.

Regional Economic Connectivity: A Strategy to Build Opportunity in Distressed Communities (Report, 2024). This report by ICIC and SRI describes regional economic connectivity as an economic development strategy for under-resourced communities.

Connectivity: A New Place-Based Strategy for Distressed Communities (Blogpost, 2024). Summarizes the major findings of Regional Economic Connectivity.

Searching for the Golden Mountain: Demystifying Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Poverty in Under-Resourced Communities and Its Implications for Economic Development (Blogpost, 2023). This blogpost highlights economic diversity among Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. It shows how treating these groups as a “model minority” impedes economic development in their communities.

The New Face of Under-Resourced Communities (Report, 2020). This report examines concentrated poverty in U.S. metropolitan areas using ICIC’s definition of under-resourced communities.

It’s Time for a Comprehensive Approach to Fighting Concentrated Poverty (Policy Brief, 2020). This policy brief argues for comprehensive community development strategies to reduce concentrated poverty and explains the principles those strategies should follow.

Not the Great Equalizer: Which Neighborhoods Are Most Economically Vulnerable to the Coronavirus Crisis? (Report, 2020) This report and its accompanying interactive map show the vulnerability of every U.S. neighborhood to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Making the CARES Act Care for Under-Resourced Communities (Policy Brief, 2020). In this policy brief, ICIC’s Senior Vice President and Research Director Howard Wial outlines how the CARES Act will affect those in under-resourced communities.

Nubian Square Market Analysis (Report, 2020). ICIC made major contributions to this American City Coalition report, which analyzes and recommends strategies to revitalize Nubian Square, the historic center of Boston’s Black business community.

Southern Illinois Opportunity Zone Prospectus (Presentation, 2020). Prepared by ICIC for 17 counties in southern Illinois, this document explains how Opportunity Zones work and highlights specific economic development assets and opportunities in the region’s Opportunity Zones.

President-elect Biden’s Community Development Agenda (Blogpost/Policy Brief, 2020). A summary of the incoming administration’s community development agenda.

What It Will Take for Opportunity Zones to Create Real Opportunity in America’s Economically Distressed Areas (Policy Brief, 2019).  This brief lays out four principles that investments in Opportunity Zones should follow to create opportunities for residents of under-resourced communities.

Commercial Street Corridor Framework Plan (Report, 2018). ICIC and Harriman present an economic development and land use plan (including cluster and workforce analyses) for Malden, Massachusetts’ Commercial Street Corridor, a light industrial and commercial corridor.

Fairmount Indigo Corridor Business and Job Attraction and Retention Strategy (Report, 2016).

2015 Inner City Economic Summit (Convening, 2015). National convening co-sponsored by ICIC to discuss leading edge research and practice on inner city economic development.

Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone: Channeling Growth and Opportunities to Upper Manhattan Residents (Report, 2014).

Increasing Economic Opportunity in Distressed Urban Communities with EB-5 (Report, 2014).

Prosperity NOLA: A Plan to Drive Economic Growth for 2018 (Report, 2013).

Realizing the Inner City Retail Opportunity: Progress and New Directions (Article, 2007).

Opportunity Newark: Jobs and Community (Report, 2007).

West Louisville Competitive Assessment and Strategy Project (Report, 2002).

The Changing Models of Inner City Grocery Retailing (Report, 2002).

The Business Case for Pursuing Retail Opportunities in the Inner City (Report, 1998).


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