Opportunity Zones (OZs) have been a hot topic for economic developers and investors across the country. As the largest federal economic development investment in over a decade, OZs originally excited economic developers because of their promise to deliver community benefits, but as the market has unfolded, OZs have instead been met with criticism. Shifting the narrative to focus on both economic growth and community inclusion is an important step to ensure that OZs deliver on their potential and promise to strengthen the country’s disadvantaged communities.
Urban development trends, such as coworking, experiential retail, and big-box redevelopment will continue to impact US communities (large and small) in 2018. Economic developers, take notice! Creative approaches to development challenges will abound in the year ahead.