As our country shifts from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy, technology has shifted our ability to choose where to live, work, play and learn. The emerging knowledge-based workforce is discovering that they can choose to live in places that offer a higher quality of life, and since knowledge is the new capital, employers are following them. Universities produce the nation’s supply of knowledge workers and for the first time ever have the power to trigger incredible new economic development opportunities for the university, its city, and the local real estate development community.
New Economy Town
New Economy Towns (NETs) are university district neighborhoods specifically built to attract and retain the emerging knowledge workforce, while economically stimulating the surrounding neighborhoods. NETs effectively leverage the resources of local stakeholders: universities, employers, and government, while providing town building solutions to support their self-interests. From a student’s point of view, NETs are usually described as "happening places."
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NETs are built to serve as:
- Economic catalysts for local and regional technology growth initiatives
- Magnets for free agent knowledge workers seeking compelling distributed work environments
- Quality of life choices that nurture the type of holistic and well-balanced lifestyle that attract the emerging echo-boomers
- District land uses that enable integrated live, work, learn and play environments central to successful "hip" University district neighborhoods
- Learning laboratories for public-private research and job-creation programs
- Entrepreneurial environments that foster University partnership with private industry and post graduate students
- Deterrents to "brain drain" serving to capture returns on invested intellectual capital back into the local economy
NETs are central to an economic development strategy intended to produce "talent magnets" that help revitalize economically-challenged markets. The NET is a "branded product" of the Town Builders Collaborative (TBC), a national multi-disciplined consortium of innovative investors and New Economy thought leaders who bring specialized expertise to bear on the development of neighborhoods that attract and retain the echo boom generation...America’s next great population wave.
Much has been written about the changing nature of the workplace and the market demands of fulfilling the needs of free agent workers, the need for employers to attract knowledge workers, academic brain drains facing universities, and town design that supports the new workplace of the future.
The TBC represents the leading edge thinkers in providing solutions to the development of towns that support a better quality of life in the new and evolving economy. The lead developer and integrator of the TBC is the Marquette Companies, a Chicago based real estate Development Company representing institutional investors nationally.
The TBC is pursuing the development of real life places that prototype the applications of research in the arenas of New Economy Community and Work life. One goal of the TBC is to help provide sophisticated national solutions and competencies to town building in local regions of the country.
Town Building is distinguished from the traditional discipline of real estate development by its holistic view of planning and building meaningful places that broadly influence and contribute to the health and well being of towns and cities.
- Town building focuses on creating market demand rather than capitalizing on markets where demand already exist
- Town Building integrates the multi-disciplines of place making, community building and economic development as a unified civic entrepreneurial effort
- Town Building creates value by working to fulfill the entire hierarchy of customer needs ranging from physical, to informational, to emotional, to spiritual needs
- Town Building benefits a broad base of both private and public stakeholders in the community and the region
This type of development approach integrates live, work, learn and play environments in compact, walk able, mixed use patterns that foster a significantly higher quality of life than the more static, single use and fragmented building patterns of the post WWII "old economy."
Technology and its growing information-based "new economy," now provides business owners, employers and the creative talent they depend on with the freedom and choice to locate where quality of life is highest. Town Building is emerging as an industry in response to the quest for towns that provide a higher quality of life that is fit for our times.
The TBC believes that 3 core disciplines form the pillars of town building initiatives that nurture high quality-of-life neighborhoods:
High quality districts foster an enduring sense of place based on time-tested town building principles that generate exuberant diversity in its streets and neighborhoods. Several conditions nurture that diversity including: a wide mixtures of building uses, close-grained blocks of buildings that nurture frequent engagement of people, integration of old and new buildings, well-used public amenities, and a compact dense residential population. People can walk from home to work, school, recreation, shops, cafes and entertainment venues; all serving as the armature for genuine community building and economic growth.
2. Community Building
The collaborative dynamic is a main organizing principle in our new and evolving economy. Social capital (networks of people, shared norms, and trust) are as important as physical capital (plant, equipment, and technology), and human capital (intellect, character, education, and training) in driving innovation and growth.
Social capital thrives in the quality of our relationships that we have with others as we built friendship, partnership, membership and ownership in our neighborhoods; the 4 experiences of building genuine community. Town builders work to build quality relationships and the programs that support them with public and private stakeholders for the benefit of the whole community.
3. Economic Development
Town building serves as a strong economic development catalyst for local communities. The information age of work/life integration is replacing the industrial age of work/life segregation. Employers, for the first time, are chasing knowledge-based talent. And that talent is choosing to locate in vibrant, mixed-use, integrated communities that embrace diversity and where affordable housing, transportation options, social activities, networks and recreational opportunities abound. Properly crafted neighborhoods provide a bridge from the old economy to the new, transforming markets with new found wealth. By attracting emerging knowledge workers and promoting local entrepreneurship, they help build local businesses that compete globally.
|Technology now allows knowledge workers the choice to live anywhere|
|Universities develop students into the emerging knowledge workforce|
|Students are vessels of future economic wealth|
|Active, hip neighborhoods attract creative entrepreneurial talent|
|Robust street life sets the stage for the new workplace|
|Talent clusters drive economic growth in the New Economy|
|Town building fosters live, work, learn, play neighborhoods|
|And leverages University assets to help jump start economic growth|
|Revitalized neighborhoods transform markets with new found wealth|