Planning Commission

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Jan 15

Vibrant Economy

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 5:01 PM by Rita McKelvey

Montgomery County Community College students in class

The third theme contained in Montco 2040: A Shared Vision—the county’s new comprehensive plan—is Vibrant Economy. A strong economy is critical for all places. With a vibrant economy, residents can earn and spend more, governments can make needed infrastructure improvements, and businesses can grow. 

  • Improved Transportation Access. Most people who work in this county use a car to get to work; transportation access and convenience is a major factor in economic development. But daily commute times increased over 20% from 1990 to 2010…that’s 40 extra hours each year sitting in traffic!  Getting workers to their jobs in an efficient way is critical.
  • Focused Development. The cost of building and maintaining infrastructure is lower in places where it already exists. But many of the county’s business parks and industrial sites that are in these areas are old and need reimagining and reinvestment. Reusing these sites cleans the environment, provides jobs, improves property values, and helps control sprawl.
  • Attraction and Retention of Businesses. Many businesses, with the right technology in place, can locate anywhere. They are not as dependent on raw materials or local markets as they used to be. Competition for growing businesses with well-paying jobs can be intense. And business growth depends on educated and trained workers, who typically earn better incomes than less educated peers.
  • Flexibly Adapting to Changing Market Conditions. With more people working from home and offices being redesigned into more collaborative spaces, the office market is in transition. Online retailing is also changing the way people buy things – as well as the retail and distribution industries. The aging population, interest of young adults in living downtown, and increasing diversity of the county will impact the location and type of new housing and other development. 
  • Marketing of Assets. Montgomery County’s identity and strong assets are not as well-known as they should be in the Philadelphia region. Even though many people live and work here, people do not automatically think of counties when they think of “home” or “work.”  Stronger marketing will help attract businesses, investment, visitors, and residents to the county. 

You can further explore this theme on page 9 of the plan. Visit our blog to look at all three plan themes: Connected Communities, Sustainable Places, and Vibrant Economy. Click here to check out the entire plan, an executive summary, and Montgomery County Today, the plan’s background document. 

Blog Author
: Anne Leavitt-Gruberger, Principal Planner, 610-278-3727 



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