As research by our Fund and others indicates, we’re using more land today than two decades ago with no net increase in population or jobs. This no-growth sprawl results in longer and more costly commutes for residents; diminishing air quality from those longer commutes; shrinking talent pool of reliable on-time workers for employers; and overly-strained municipal budgets.
Our land use trends result from a series of individual decisions, but they are not merely the consequences of a free market. Strategic investments in transportation, site improvement and agricultural preservation, and incentives to businesses can encourage development patterns that improve the long-term connectivity of people and jobs.
For too long, economic development, land use and transportation planning at the local and regional levels have been uncoordinated. A shared definition of job hubs provides an opportunity to align infrastructure and economic development investments and incentives to encourage industrial redevelopment in ways that use and build upon existing strengths, while preserving and protecting valuable agricultural and environmental assets.
Over the course of 2017, our Fund has worked closely with transportation planning organizations and business development entities across the region to develop such a shared definition. A preliminary map, above, and definition, below, are being syndicated with civic leaders across Northeast Ohio. Once agreed to, defined and prioritized job hubs can influence resources directed toward transportation infrastructure, site inventory and improvement, and economic development incentives.
A full report with detailed maps and analysis for the major metros of our region is due out soon. In the meantime, you can read more about the job hubs research by clicking on the links at left, see media coverage of the topic here, or email Director of Civic Innovation and Insight Peter Truog with questions.