From economic development focused on tech to arts districts, downtown revitalization and neighborhood stabilization efforts; and from parks and trails improvements to new entertainment venues and enhanced education programs — Indiana communities are are stepping up to improve the quality of life for their residents, which ultimately helps to attract people and jobs.

This is particularly important for the tech sector because competition for software application developers and other high-skilled computer-related jobs is already fierce among local tech employers, but the reality is that they are competing with employers like Google and Apple in places that have oceans and mountains and sunny 70-degree winters. Of course, placemaking can’t change the topography or the weather, but there are plenty of recent success stories of talented people who could have gone anywhere for their tech careers, but chose to live and work in Indiana. Communities that focus on putting people first can end up offering something better than the natural resources of the coasts — a home.

BSU is chronicling successful placemaking efforts statewide through a series of Community Spotlight blog posts. They also recognize the best placemaking efforts of the year with the Primacy of Place Community Awards Program.

Building Better Communities at Ball State University and their annual Primacy of Place Conference (October 16th) celebrates the strides made by cities and towns all over the state to place people first. As research and practice shows, the single most important element in strengthening local economies is attracting and retaining talented individuals.  This requires not only good jobs and schools, but attention to the quality of life in individual communities.

Primacy of Place Conference featured keynotes include:

  • Aaron M. Renn, “The Urbanophile” — an opinion-leading urban affairs analyst and entrepreneur
  • Ed Burghard, creator of the “Strengthening Brand America Project,” helping economic development professionals successfully apply product and corporate branding to market communities for capital investment
  • Michael Langellier, president and CEO of Techpoint, Indiana’s statewide technology initiative focused on growing Indiana’s tech sector through marketing and thought leadership, and being a catalyst for strategic growth initiatives.

Whether you can make it to the conference or not, if you’re interested in making your community a better place that’s more attractive to creative class employees like tech workers, check out BSU’s Primacy of Place Best Practices Resources. They have compiled best practice resources in six key areas of placemaking:

  1. Arts Integration
  2. Central City Revitalization
  3. Community Well Being
  4. Educational Excellence
  5. Municipal Governance
  6. Readiness for change

This is the second annual Primacy of Place Conference and it’s being held at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre hotel on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. The conference will be held from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm on Thursday, Oct. 16, with registration and continental breakfast at 8:30 am.  The day includes keynote presentations and breakout sessions with experts and Indiana community leaders. View the full agenda and register.