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Making a List. Checking it Twice. Is Your Market on the Naughty or Nice List?

By RDG Principal Brent Jonas

Some regions stand out as beacons of growth and prosperity, embodying vibrant economies that attract investment, foster innovation, and create ample opportunities for all. However, despite their success, these thriving regions grapple with challenges that threaten their continued economic expansion. These communities are fixtures on site selection “Nice” lists, but without proper planning and regional collaboration they could easily find themselves on the “Naughty” list.  


The fact is that the hurdles most markets face are not that different. Everyone thinks their problems are unique, but they are likely just variations of common problems. Chances are that your market is facing some combination of factors such as infrastructure strain, a lack of housing affordability, income inequality, environmental sustainability, or workforce skills mismatch. Or maybe it is an overreliance on particular industry clusters, education system issues, or policy/regulatory hurdles and political upheaval. Each of these issues taken individually bring a host of challenges, and collectively, they can cripple a region.


Addressing these challenges requires concerted collaborative efforts from various stakeholders. That’s where partnering with a firm like RDG helps lend perspective to community leaders. We see the efforts markets around the country are making to tackle their challenges head-on, and we take that knowledge to help connect plans with the leadership and resources needed to execute those strategies. 


Take, for example, the Charleston, South Carolina market, where leaders of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) collaborated with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments on the One Region Roadmap.

Building on the collective visioning, data-driven insights, stakeholder engagement, and long-term perspective of the Roadmap and its companion Cluster and Innovation strategy, RDG was able to build a successful leadership and resource campaign for CRDA. The success of that campaign will help the region remain globally competitive while helping to address the regional challenges that accompany its continuing success. 


Regions don't simply succeed by chance. Case studies abound with stories of successful regional planning initiatives. From revitalizing urban centers to fostering innovation hubs and sustainable tourism, these efforts underscore the transformative power of strategic planning when executed effectively. It requires foresight, collaboration, adaptability, and a steadfast commitment to realizing a shared vision. Tying those plans and visions to leadership and resources is critical to success, and it is how the professional team at RDG can help regional leaders avoid the naughty list. Because nobody wants a lump of coal in their stocking, right? 


From our team to yours, Happy Holidays!

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