DeKalb County's Strategic Economic Development Plan
One of the country's most diverse, dynamic communities gets a refreshed strategy
DeKalb County, GA
In 2019, RKG issued a Strategic Economic Development Plan for DeKalb County, GA, a highly diverse community of 725,000 that includes portions of the City of Atlanta. In addition to evaluating the county’s market for economic development and its land use strategies, the project aimed to assess the organizational structure of the County’s newly formed Development Authority.
To account for extreme variation in demographics and market realities across the county, RKG’s Strategic Economic Development Plan (SEDP) focused analysis in 14 distinct Employment Center Study Areas, ranging from transit-oriented urban communities to sprawling suburbs. The SEDP included land use, economic policy, and incentives-related recommendations through the lens of four identified Target Industries, including healthcare/life sciences and advanced manufacturing. Target Industries and economic development goals were formulated during a robust community outreach process that included “Town Hall” meetings, business leadership working groups, nearly 100 interviews, and the creation of dekalbcountysedp.com. Recommended action items included a reorganization of the County’s economic development functions, aiming to reduce unnecessary political conflict and clearly delineate roles. Despite challenges, the proposed restructuring has been well-received by key stakeholders across the public and private sectors.
Photos courtesy Decide DeKalb Development Authority