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Bay Area Council Releases Roadmap for Economic Resilience

November 12, 2015

In his 1962 State of the Union address, John F. Kennedy said, "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining."  Despite its foggy reputation, perhaps no region has had the sun shine on them more economically since that speech than California’s Bay Area. Currently, in spite of its strengths as a hub for talent, research, and innovation, the Bay Area lacks a cohesive and comprehensive regional economic strategy for sustaining economic growth, weathering business cycles and supporting shared prosperity. To combat this, A Roadmap for Economic Resilience: The Bay Area Regional Economic Strategy serves as a roof-repair-guide of sorts, offering viable solutions to support regionalism,  facilitate infrastructure investment, address housing affordability, encourage adaptive workforce development, and improve access to transportation options.

The roadmap is a project of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, a think-tank focused on economic and policy issues facing the nine-county Bay Area region. According to the report, five examples of regional economic strategies were used to provide additional insight into the planning process. What makes this plan unique, however, is that while the example strategies were written during times of economic uncertainty, the Bay Area Roadmap was written during a time when the region was in a clear position of strength.

Ultimately, the report suggests a need to develop a stronger, more coordinated approach to addressing the region’s key infrastructure, housing, workforce training, and economic development needs. While smaller, more homogeneous regions such as Minneapolis-St. Paul or Portland, OR, have had success in developing a structure for regional governance, this is complicated in the Bay Area due to its fragmented nature. Given the close ties that municipalities in the Bay Area have with one another, regional buy-in is needed to ensure follow-through on the viable recommendations outlined in the roadmap.