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Regional Cities Initiative

About the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative

The Indiana Regional Cities Initiative sets a framework for neighboring communities across the state to work together to develop regional visions that are supported by compelling development plans focused on quality of place. With seven regions representing 70 percent of the state’s population submitting strategic plans, the initiative is helping each region develop positive and unique national brands, transforming them into global destinations for talent.

As a financial partner, the state has selected North Central, Northeast and Southwest Indiana to receive $42 million each in a funding match for their bold development plans.  These plans outline 100 quality of place projects totaling more than $2 billion in investments.

Population Stagnation is Threatening Indiana's Growth

Healthy, vibrant communities require dynamic and growing populations. People are free to choose where they live, and do so based on many factors. Together, the interactions within a community among people, places and things determine its quality of place and vibrancy. Concentrating efforts on continuously improving quality of place, while maintaining traditional economic development efforts, is a proven formula for creating talent magnets.

However, like many of its Midwestern neighbors, Indiana remains a net out-migration state. Over the last decade, 80% of Indiana’s population growth (6M to 6.4M) is attributable to the birth rate outpacing the death rate. Talented people continue to move to Southern and Western states, which claimed 84% of the nation’s population growth through the past decade.

Now is the time to build on our economic foundation to create a quality of place that attracts and retains future generations of Hoosiers.


WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT
THE INDIANA REGIONAL CITIES INITIATIVE



“The recent Regional Cities initiative is a prime example of recognizing the power of collective action and ingenuity in the regional economies shared by urban counties and their surrounding suburban and rural areas. Leaders in the three regions chosen to receive state financial assistance in this project believe they have the capacity to lift the arc of progress in those areas. There are surely other regional economies that could benefit from similar initiatives by state government during the next gubernatorial administration. Leadership with the moxie to launch those sorts of inventive actions can also build Indiana’s attractiveness to the talented millennials who will carry us through the century.” 


Former Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court Randall T. Shepard

 



“This policy shift isn’t confined to our largest city. In many places outside of Indianapolis, a focus on quality of place seems to be taking hold. The state’s Regional Cities Initiative was bold enough that 70 percent of the state’s residents now live in regions with an honest and realistic plan to attract more people to their areas. That alone is a monumental policy achievement, as significant as anything that has been tried by any state in a couple decades.”

Michael Hicks, Ball State Economist

 



“The Regional Cities Initiative is one of the most innovative economic development initiatives in the U.S. As I chat with my fellow Site Selector Guild members located throughout the world, they are very impressed by the IEDC’s focus on talent attraction. RCI will continue to propel Indiana’s economy forward.”

Larry Gigerich, Executive Managing Director, Ginovus

 



“The state recognizes that the economy is not a single economy, the state’s economy is comprised of a set of regional economies and that form of recognition in Regional Cities is the first that I’ve seen in quite some time.”

Greg Wathen, President & CEO of the Economic Development
Coalition of Southwest Indiana

 


“In northeast Indiana, ‘good’ is not good enough. We share a vision of bucking Midwest trends and breaking new ground. We have a united vision of becoming a region of 1 million people by developing the quality of life needed to attract top talent and expand our business landscape..”

John Sampson, President & CEO of Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership & John Urbahns,
Vice President of Economic Development at Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

 


“Indiana as a state has a very high level of educating young people but a very
low level of keeping them. This is about changing that equation.”

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg