Industries & Clusters

We at ICIC believe that growing and improving industries and industry clusters is key to transforming local economies. Industry clusters are groups of related and interconnected industries operating within a specific geography. (Think of the automotive cluster in Detroit or the technology cluster in Silicon Valley.) Clusters represent a region’s competitive assets and as such form a solid foundation for economic growth. We are interested in helping industries and clusters grow, become more productive and competitive, and become more equitable for business owners and workers. Consistent with ICIC’s mission of creating income as well as jobs for the residents of under-resourced communities, we are especially (though not exclusively) interested in “opportunity” industries and clusters—those with many middle- and high-wage jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree.

Our Cluster Growth Toolkit for Cities, developed with the support of JPMorgan Chase, provides resources to help cities develop high-impact strategies for driving inclusive cluster growth.

Racial Equity in America’s New Industrial Transformation (Report, 2024). This report examines Black- and Hispanic-owned manufacturers in major supply chains that will benefit from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act.

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.

Breaking the Glass Bottleneck: The Economic Potential of Black and Hispanic Real Estate Developers and the Constraints They Face (Report, 2023). This commissioned report, created by ICIC with Grove Impact as part of its Obsidian Ecosystem Initiative, presents the findings of first-of-its kind research on Black and Hispanic real estate developers.

An Assessment of the Industrial Sector as a Driver of Future Growth in Duluth (Report, 2018). This report shows that the industrial sector remains a competitive advantage and that continued investment in it will catalyze equitable economic growth by providing accessible, well-paying jobs.

Duluth’s Industrial Legacy is Also a Key to Future Equitable Growth (Blogpost, 2018). A summary of our research on the industrial sector in Duluth.

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.

Building Strong Clusters for Strong Urban Economies (Report, 2017).

Infographic: Designing High-Impact Cluster Strategies (Infographic, 2017).

Webinar Presentation: Cluster Growth Strategies for City Leaders (Presentation, 2017).

Webinar Recording: Cluster Growth Strategies for City Leaders (Video, 2017).

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

Accelerating Cluster Growth: A Playbook for City Leaders (Practice Brief, 2015).

The Missing Link: Clusters, Small Business Growth and Vibrant Urban Economies (Report, 2014).

Building an Inclusive Tech Economy: Internship Programs that Connect Inner City Workers to Jobs in the Technology Sector (Practice Brief, 2014).

Growing Healthy Economies: Leveraging America’s Urban Food Cluster (Practice Brief, 2013).

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

An Industrial Strategy for the City of St. Paul (Report, 2012).

The Promise of Local Clusters (Article, 2011).

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

Initiative for a Competitive Brooklyn: Seizing Our Moment (Report, 2005).

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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