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Planning Local Economic Development

Planning Local Economic Development
Theory and Practice

Sixth Edition
  • Nancey Green Leigh - Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
  • Edward J. Blakely - The University of Sydney, Australia, University of Southern California, USA, New School University, New York, USA, University of California, Berkeley, USA

December 2016 | 536 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Written by authors with years of academic, regional, and city planning experience, this classic text has laid the foundation for practitioners and academics working in planning and policy development for generations. With deeper coverage of sustainability and resiliency, the new Sixth Edition explores the theories of local economic development while addressing the issues and opportunities faced by cities, towns, and local entities in crafting their economic destinies within the global economy. Nancey Green Leigh and Edward J. Blakely provide a thoroughly up-to-date exploration of planning processes, analytical techniques and data, and locality, business, and human resource development, as well as advanced technology and sustainable economic development strategies.

Chapter 1 The Enduring Argument for Local Economic Development Planning
Local Economic Development Planning in the Face of Globalization

The Influence of Outsourcing and Insourcing

People and Places Left Out of the New Economy

The Future of Local Economic Development Planning

References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 2 The Influence of National and State Policies on Local Economic Development
Three Approaches to National Economic Policy

Monetary and Tax Policy

Trade Policy

Welfare to Workfare Policy

Health Care Policy

Employment Policy

National Policy Targeting Local Economic Development

Coordination of Local and National Development Efforts

State Economic Development Approaches

Challenges and Opportunities Inherent in Economic Development Policy Making



References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 3 Concepts and Theory of Local Economic Development
Defining Local Economic Development

Theories of Growth and Development

Translating Theory Into Practice

Theories, Models, and Fads In Local Economic Development Planning

The Continued Evolution of Economic Development Theory Into Local Practice



References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 4 The Local Economic Development Profession and Professionals
The Role of the Economic Development Practitioner

The Task Functions

The Clients

The Professional Roles

Economic Development Careers

Summary and Conclusion

References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 5 The Local Economic Development Planning Process
Preliminary Tasks of Local Economic Development Planning

The Six Phases of Planning

Managing Planning Resources in the Community

Selecting a Local Economic Development Role

Typology of Planning Approaches

Features of Local Economic Development Planning


Putting It All Together: Creating a Local Economic Development Strategy (Part I)

References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 6 Introduction to Analytical Methods for Local Economic Development Planning
Information and Analytical Requirements for Local Economic Development Planning

Understanding an Economy’s Strengths and Weaknesses

The Economic Profile

Building On Comparisons

Gathering Available Descriptive Data

Occupational Data

Employer Reports

Examining Analytical Techniques

Principles of Economic Projections

How Do Changes Multiply Through the Economy?

Identifying Industrial Clusters: The Most Important Parts of the Local Economy


Putting It All Together: Creating a Local Economic Development Strategy (Part II)


References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 7 Local Economic Development Strategy
The Goals of Local Economic Development

Prerequisites for Successful Strategy Formulation

Selecting Strategic Options

Economic Development Plans Within the Context of Comprehensive Plans

Common Traps In Strategy Formulation

Assembling the Elements of a Strategy

Projects from Strategies

Plan Financing and Implementation


References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 8 Locality Development
The Link Between Economic Development and Urban Design

Landbanking and Community Land Trusts

Physical Infrastructure Development on Industrial and Commercial Land

Speculative Buildings

Zoning Regulations

Business Improvement Districts

Regulatory Improvement Through Simplification



Housing and Neighborhood Improvement

Household Services

Community Services


References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 9 Business Development
Creating a Good Business Climate

Entrepreneur Development and Economic Gardening

One-Stop Business Assistance Centers

Start-Up and Venture Financing Companies and Development Banks

Small Business Development Centers


Women’s Enterprises

Promotion and Tourism Programs

Research and Development

Enterprise Zones

Incentivizing or Subsidizing Local Economic Development?



References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 10 Human Resource Development
Workforce Development

Realities of an Undertrained Workforce

Public Role in Workforce Development

Goals of Human Resource Programs

Matching Human Resource Programs and Economic Development Objectives

Education as the Foundation of Human Resource Development

Implementation of a Human Resource Development Strategy


References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 11 Community Economic Development
Community Development Corporations

Community Cooperatives

Local Enterprise Agencies

Employee/Worker Ownership

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development

Targeting and Marketing Neighborhood/Community Assets


References and Suggested Readings

Chapter 12 Building the Implementation Plan
Public–Private Partnerships

Marketing Community

Project Financing

Assessing Project Viability

Sustainability Analysis

Detailed Feasibility Analysis

Cash Flow Analysis

Project Sustainability

Organizational Design

Monitoring And Evaluation Program



References And Suggested Readings

Chapter 13 Institutional Approaches to Local Economic Development
Organizational Requirements For Local Development

Public–Private Partnerships

The Economic Development Specialist

Institutional Approaches To Local Economic Development

A Typology Of Development Organizations


References And Suggested Readings

Chapter 14 Local Economic Development Planning’s Response to A Global Economy and Climate-Challenged Planet
Finding Solutions Through Innovation and Technology

The Technology Development Process

Fostering The Advanced-Technology Community

Advanced Manufacturing and Clean Technology

Resiliency in Local Economic Development

Local Economic Development Planning for Resiliency

Conclusion: The Future of Local Economic Development Planning


References and Suggested Readings


“Leigh and Blakely’s Planning Local Economic Development is the gold standard for texts in local economic development.  The book provides excellent breadth and depth of conceptual and analytical frameworks in the field of economic development while also integrating applied case materials.  My students appreciate the accessible writing style and the applied nature of the book, which generates class discussion of key concepts.”

Russell Mills
Bowling Green State University

Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice is the authoritative and comprehensive text for students of economic development planning and policy. The authors, leading scholars of the urban planning field, present an engaging and lively introduction to the field. The book strikes a perfect balance between theory and practice. Highly recommended.”

Thomas Vicino
Northeastern University

Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice is one of the most functional textbooks on the market. The key issues are covered in easy to read chapters. There is enough information to inform the students without overwhelming them. Students and faculty will both want to make this part of their permanent library.”

Michael Collins
Liberty University

“Nancey Green Leigh and Edward Blakely’s Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice is an engaging text.  I’ve used this book over the years both as a student and as a professor.  Each edition gets stronger and adds additional value to understanding a topic as complex as local economic development.”

Marcus Mauldin
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice provides readers with a hands-on approach to learning economic development.  In as much as it provides the theoretical basis for working in the field, it also presents the challenges associated with the everyday economic, social, and political realities of planning local economic development.” 

Brent Hales
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

There were numerous technical errors throughout the test. I looks like during the new edition process, lots of new errors were introduced. It created a lot of confusion before I realized what the problems were.

Dr David Swindell
School Of Public Affairs, Arizona State University
November 14, 2022
Key features
  • New section in the chapter on Business Development on “Incentivizing or Subsidizing Economic Development?”
  • Increased focus on practice of local economic development outside the U.S.
  • New and revised case studies, now named “Economic Developments” and “PLED Problem Solving,” which broaden the geographic and topical focus of local economic development planning.
  • Updated statistics and discussion of economic development challenges for marginalized groups and regions, including new educational and employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated populations.
  • Updated discussion on national policies that affect local economies, such as health care mandates and federal expenditures on local economic development.
  • National and international examples of regulations on financial subsidies used primarily for business attraction and expansion.
  • Examples of techniques to maintain or recover large- or small-scale local manufacturing.
  • Addresses the challenges to and next steps for local economic development planning since the weak and uneven recovery following the Great Recession.
  • Focuses on sustainability and resiliency tactics for local economic development success such as inner city revitalization, LEED neighborhood design, as well as innovative planning strategies for climate change adaptation.
  • Emphasizes bridging the gap between community and economic development through data-driven needs assessments, public-private partnerships, and community engagement.
  • Expands on training intermediaries as a catalytic force for local economic development.
  • Explores inner-city revitalization strategies that may lead to gentrification and displacement of existing residents.

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