Looking at two metro areas’ economies is never an apple-for-apple comparison. Even with similar populations and similar GDPs, there are just too many other variables to be able to say, ‘See what worked there? We should do that here,’ and expect the results to be the same.
But, by looking at local (and hyperlocal) data we can better extrapolate economic development ideas and determine their best chances of success.
Looking at the Data
It’s best to come at this with the scientific method (ie create a hypothesis and then test it). Let’s say you want to see if a pedestrian-only street will spur development in a specific neighborhood. The first step is to gather a list of other cities that have tried this – both that have found success and those that haven’t.
Next, you need to gather local data about each project: how many people live within a 10 minute walk, a 20 minute drive? How much office space is nearby, what is the vacancy rate? With that type of data, you can determine the minimal threshold of density you need to consider it.
Next, you need to evaluate the impact it will have on the area. How did it affect commercial real estate listings in the area? Did it price out certain types of businesses, homogenizing the tenant base? Did it create new construction and attract other types of businesses that weren’t there before?
In the end, there are multiple factors that go into determining how a project will fare. Having large sets of accurate data to pore over enables you to see the effect an economic development project has had, and can help you determine key indicators for regional economic growth and to ensure your project finds the same success.
On top of that, you can also make more accurate comparisons on a project’s resulting regional economic growth impact. For example, if you undertake a major infrastructure improvement – say, a new lightrail line or an airport expansion – you can then correlate the changing data for how the project impacted the real estate market. If you see that the lightrail line spurred office leasing activity by 20% within a five-block radius of each station while the region as a whole saw growth of 5%, you can more accurately quantify the value the project created.
At RealMassive, we spend our days waist-deep in data to see what’s really going on in the market. Want to see if our software would be a good fit for your team? Contact us today for a demo.