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Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)

The 380 Economic Development Districts (EDDs) throughout the US regularly develop and update Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) as a part of their work to help communities.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has new expectations for this planning process.  In short, the federal government is granting greater flexibility but at the same time EDDs will need to be more strategic and outcome-oriented in developing  and updating their plans.

No more laundry lists. The primary focus of these plans is now clearly on results.

Statewide CEDS Instant Regional Analysis

Many states, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, New Mexico, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee, are pursuing Statewide CEDS. Some of these states are actively planning  while others are still in the discussion stage. Alabama is the first state to complete their Statewide CEDS.

This statewide approach helps states to address larger,  common needs and priorities and/or to attain benefits that accrue beyond regional boundaries that may require economies of scale to implement.

The Building Communities Key Success Factor Analysis is a tremendous way to begin a statewide CEDS planning process.  Conducting this instrumented analysis  in EDD-based workshops respects  traditional District boundaries and  generates District-based Prioritized Strategy Reports. The unique attributes of each District become instantly clear, while setting the stage for the statewide plan.

The EDA has replaced the laundry list with four main outcome requirements:

In addition, newly crafted CEDS documents should focus more on economic resiliency, smart growth principles and where appropriate, disaster mitigation/recovery.  The revised expectations will place greater emphasis on implementation and evaluation.   Statewide approaches and integrating with HUD-funded sustainability regions will be encouraged.

Finally, new CEDS documents need not be the 100+ page WORD documents of the past but can take new forms that enable the plans to be more explicit and effectively implemented.

At Building Communities, we understand that EDA funding is critical for the continued operations of Districts.   At the same time, we know that many Districts want to be more strategic in their work on behalf of the communities they serve.

That's where we come in. 

The Building Communities planning methodology is designed to take EDDs to the next level—to efficiently create strategic plans that engage communities and mobilize action for results.   This is action well beyond the resources of one federal agency.

We are on the leading edge of the reinvention of the CEDS process.  

Connection Between CEDS and HUD's Regional Plan for Sustainable Development

In 2010, U.S. Housing and Urban Development established a new process, one that culminates in the development of Regional Plans for Sustainable Development (RPSDs).   RPSDs are generally broader than CEDS plans and should contain economic development strategic plans within the broader construct of sustainability.

In 2011, HUD and the EDA agreed that the RPSD planning process, if properly designed, can substitute for CEDS planning.

Building Communities is a community and economic development strategic planning company serving as the only lead planner for three HUD regions currently developing RPSDs.  In this capacity, Building Communities is currently conducting 52 local (city and/or county) strategic plans, as well as developing the three RPSDs.

East Arkansas Planning and Development District Using Building Communities Regional Plan as CEDS

The East Arkansas Planning and Development District is an EDA Economic Development District and the lead entity managing the HUD-funded ReNEW East Arkansas Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.

Because the Regional Plan utilizes Building Communities' robust economic development strategic planning process with over 20 locally based strategic plans throughout the District, it also officially serves as the CEDS. Benefits include:

Advantages to EDDs utilizing the Building Communities approach to complete their CEDS plan based upon the broader RPSD platform include:

Building Communities is all about community and economic development strategic planning.  In fact, we believe we invented it.   There are certainly other approaches but they are based upon the same generic strategic planning methodology (SWOT) used by business, education, banking, health care and other disciplines.

Building Communities can work within the existing EDA-funded planning framework to bring CEDS v 2.0 to your District.  Call us at (928) 814-3710 and we'll explain how we can help you make your next CEDS plan more powerful and effective.

 

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