WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A new study from Heartland Forward, a nonpartisan nonprofit, shows many cities need to work to bounce back from the economic hit they took during the pandemic.
“Many of them need to change their economic development strategies and develop more of a portfolio approach,” Heartland Forward President and CEO Ross DeVol said.
DeVol says cities with a strong identity are better positioned to recover.
“Many of these places that did not perform as well haven’t emphasized developing cultural amenities and kind of having a unique narrative about why their place is a great place to be,” DeVol said.
The study shows young professionals are drawn to places that are economically dynamic cities and provide an enjoyable work and life balance.
“Those locations that do not promote this type of economic growth … in some sense it becomes a downward economic spiral, almost a brain drain,” DeVol said.
United States lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that after the pandemic, cities will need to focus on the amenities that set them apart.
“I think cities are really going to have to double down on finding reasons to attract people to their core and a lot of that will be entertainment, will be culture, will be the arts,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said.
Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) says private companies will also influence changes.
“We’ve all learned to work differently, working remotely, and I think a lot of companies will be looking at what they’ve learned through this,” Smucker said.