Research Briefs Offer Ideas to Policymakers and Stakeholders for Investing in People, Places and Industries; Position North Carolina as a Top Destination to Work and Live
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Researchers at RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research institute, released a blueprint today to help areas beyond Research Triangle Park (RTP) recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The blueprint, which includes 12 research briefs on different issues related to the regional economy, is intended to help planners, policy makers and other key stakeholders better address the challenges of uneven growth, and social and economic inequality as they position wider geographic regions for economic development.
RTI started the blueprint before the COVID-19 pandemic began, as an effort to define and address disparities and position a wider region, the 100-mile radius surrounding RTP, for more balanced growth. The 12 research briefs provide insights on how to plan and strategize for an economic recovery. Topics of focus range from workforce, housing, equity, supply chain disruption and target industry growth clusters.
“Our blueprint offers ideas for investing in people, places and industries that help propel the wider region into the global ranks of top places to live, work, innovate and thrive,” said Sara Lawrence, Program Director of Economic Development at RTI. “During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was important to shift our research to recognize and incorporate recommendations for post-pandemic recovery across the region.”
In the blueprint, researchers state that the current unemployment crisis could be the most challenging issue the region has faced since the Great Recession in 2008. They encourage stakeholders to focus on long-term sustained growth by positioning specific industry clusters across the Innovation Corridor. These clusters include agricultural technology, bio health, technology for transportation and defense technology.
“Disparities among the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and Charlotte regions, compared to other parts of North Carolina, have always existed and are now being amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the ‘superstar cities’ such as San Francisco, San Diego, Boston and New York continue to grow at rates faster than North Carolina’s urban economic engines,” said Lawrence. “As we address immediate social and economic needs resulting from the pandemic, now is the time to rethink economic development and planning. We must ensure there are more broad-based economic opportunities across the state while doubling down on investments in research and innovation.”
Among the many findings, the blueprint emphasizes that there is a need for a unified vision of economic growth and recognition of disparities across the region during the economic recovery process. Researchers say that the outline could also be used to help guide other regions across the country toward economic repair and recovery.
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