City of Fayetteville and University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation
Facing a fiscal downturn and a slowing of growth, the City of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas recognized a need to better focus their economic development efforts to create a more sustainable economy and future for the city. PES worked with a multi-disciplinary team to first develop an in-depth analysis of the city’s and region’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and then to conduct a four-day charrette involving more than 150 participants. Pulling together civic, university and business leaders in an intense process, the consultant team and participants identified six major issue areas:
- capitalizing on and developing niches of competence
- developing an extensive infrastructure to support innovation
- investing in human capital;
- promoting the region as a whole in cooperation with other jurisdictions;
- developing smart community places that enhance residents’ quality of life; and
- improving the City’s development approval process and finances.
Among the strategies emerging from those focus areas were steps to ramp up and build on a nascent movement emphasizing green technologies and processes under the rubric of the Green Valley Network. Target industries were identified based on the region’s business and research strengths.