Land-use webinar to focus on community economic development

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — How communities address economic development will be the topic of a Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar at noon on Nov. 18 will be Bill Shuffstall, economic and community development senior educator, and John Turack, economic and community development assistant, both with Penn State Extension. Turack also serves as executive director of the Smart Growth Partnership, a Westmoreland County-based nonprofit organization.

The webinar will provide an introduction to the concepts of community economic development, along with a few examples from communities where this development philosophy has been utilized. The presenters will explore basic community economic analysis, the Main Street 4-point Approach, and other "placemaking" and tactical urbanism strategies.

"Community economic development is about the public and private sectors working to identify and implement local actions that make the community a better place for businesses to do business and for residents to live, work and play," said Shuffstall.

When community leaders and citizens begin a community economic development process, it is important that they assess current conditions and compile an inventory of the community's assets, Turack noted.

"Next, we advise developing a collective vision for where the community would like to be at some point in the future. Putting together a step-by-step plan and utilizing and leveraging the existing community assets really help the community's stakeholders to buy into the process and to get the community to the vision that has been agreed upon," Turak said. "During this session, I'll highlight a few communities that have had success with this process, and specifically success with placemaking, one form of community economic development."

Previous webinars offered in the monthly land-use series, all recorded for later viewing, include the following:

  • "Active Transportation = Healthy Communities"
  • "Repurposing Blighted Buildings into New Uses"
  • "Economic Ecology of Healthy Watersheds"
  • "Bees, Chickens, and Goats, Oh My!"

The cost of the webinar series is $30 for all five webinars and $60 for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

In addition, Registered Landscape Architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $35.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at ptw3@psu.edu. Register for the webinars here.

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Last Updated November 13, 2015