Economic Development

Economic development planning seeks to build a stable economic base that preserves and raises a community or region’s standard of living by developing its human and physical infrastructure in a sustainable manner. In so doing, economic development planners address issues such as the following:

How can we improve the quality of jobs in a community?
How can we structure a deal that will bring economic development impact from a proposed convention facility?
What can we do to revitalize an area hit by industrial decline?
How can we upgrade workforce training in existing businesses?
Should we do more to support new small business creation?
How can we promote technology start-up ventures?
What can we do to bring development to impoverished areas of the inner city?
How can brownfields be made part of an overall economic development plan?

While economic development practice overall is concerned with the promotion of jobs, businesses, and community and regional growth, its practice from a planning and public policy perspective pays close attention to issues of equity, access, distribution, and the quality of life for individuals, communities, regions, and nations. The context for economic development changes continuously, with shifts in economic structures, rapid technological development, increased economic globalization, greater environmental concerns, and ongoing debate about the role and effectiveness of planning and public policy in tackling development issues.

Georgia Tech, the Atlanta region, and the state of Georgia present a wonderful set of laboratories for students interested in the economic development field. Georgia Tech itself plays a major role in state technology-based economic development, offering many business assistance and technology services. The Georgia Tech Economic Development Institute is a major center for economic development assistance and research (where students frequently find graduate assistantships). The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest in the United States. Many community and regional groups are engaged with economic development issues. And, the state is a major sponsor of a broad array of economic development programs. Many MCRP graduates are engaged in economic development planning in the metro area.

Students who have pursued the economic development concentration at the master-degree level find jobs in local, state and federal government, non-profit groups, and private consulting firms. Currently, there is a strong demand for economic development planners and policy analysts.

The economic development specialization in Georgia Tech's City and Regional Planning Program offers students the opportunity to study the conceptual foundations of the field, learn key analytical techniques, and apply this knowledge to practical economic development issues in local, regional, national, and international contexts. In City and Regional Planning, emphasis is placed on industrial restructuring which frames the possibilities for economic development, as well as on infrastructure - transportation, housing, and the environment – that supports economic development. In the course offerings in Public Policy, significant attention is given to the central role of technology in influencing and stimulating the processes of economic development. Courses in both programs seek to link economic development strategies to broader social and political concerns.

Required Courses

CP 6412 Foundations of Local Economic Development Planning and Policy (Fall)
CP 6422 Economic Development Analysis and Practice (Spring)

Additional Courses

Students must also take two additional courses in their particular interest area in economic development from the City and Regional Planning Program, the School of Public Policy, other Georgia Tech units, or at Georgia State University. Available courses include:

CP 6432 Industrial Restructuring and Its Planning Implications
CP 6442 Equity, Social Justice, and Economic Development (offered infrequently)
CP 6452 Urban Development Policy (joint-listed as PUBP 6606)
CP 6351 Transportation and Economic Development (offered infrequently)
CP 6611 Principles of Real Estate Finance and Development
PUBP 6604 Methods of Urban Policy Analysis and Practice (offere

Economic Development Faculty

Professor Nancey Green Leigh
Assistant Professor Anna Kim
Associate Professor Jennifer Clark (School of Public Policy)