Category Archives: In the News
Regionalism has been on the rise over the past couple months. Have you caught up on the latest news?
“The District has a higher share of millennials than any other major U.S. city. But the area’s desirability is in jeopardy, the report says, because of the high cost of housing, the troubled transit system and crowded roads, and fading job openings owing to federal budget cuts.” – Washington Post, 10/17/15
“The debate over regionalism has raged for years—decades, in fact—but some local leaders say the time for debate is over, given the economic conditions facing Greater Washington.” – Washington Business Journal, 10/23/15
“Greater Washington is embarking on a season of regionalism.” – Washington Business Journal, 11/4/15
“Elected leaders in the Washington area should spend less time poaching jobs from one another and focus on collaborating around international trade and research-based industries, researchers warned this week after releasing new regional economic data.”- Washington Post, 11/6/15
“New research shows that exports make up a relatively small portion of Greater Washington’s economy. But the region has the strengths, including robust innovation, highly skilled workers and sound infrastructure, to increase exports and attract foreign direct investment.” – Washington Business Journal, 11/13/15
The following article ran in the Washington Business Journal on Apr 24, 2015.
Editor’s note: Bob Buchanan gave the 2nd Annual Leadership in Real Estate Lecture hosted by George Mason University’s Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship on April 20, 2015. This is a summary of his remarks.
The Washington region has had it pretty good for a long time. But after years of expansion and unprecedented job growth, it appears the tide has turned and will continue to ebb. Sequestration cuts have pointed out that we have been too dependent upon federal funding for our economic well-being, and according to the most recent census data, our population growth is in decline. In fact, for the first time, Fairfax County, Arlington County and Alexandria have all seen more people move out than in over the past year. So, what can we do to turn around our deteriorating economy and buffer the unprecedented threats to the national capital region’s quality of life?
The answer: Think regionally.
For too long, local leaders have been able to adopt an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. But this mindset is no longer sustainable. Our public, private, philanthropic/nonprofit and academic sectors need to come together and work together to ensure that we are setting the region up not only to survive, but also to thrive in the future.
The Washington region is known best for its federal presence, but not for any other real global dynamic. What are we doing to correct this? Currently, not enough. Our long-term dependence on government funding has resulted in a regional culture that lacks an entrepreneurial spirit and savvy in responding to market change. This needs to change if we are to compete with other cities and in the global economy. Our region must work together to find ways to attract new industries to the area and maintain the talented workforce that is already living in this area. For example, Maryland is home to world-class research centers like the National Institutes of Health, and Montgomery County alone is home to more than 350 bioscience companies. In 2014, Virginia had the second-highest concentration of tech workers in the nation. If we leverage the resources and talent of both states, we could create one of the greatest biotech clusters in the world. But we have yet to capitalize on our collaboration potential. If we don’t start thinking and acting as a region, other metropolitan areas that do will continue to surge ahead of us.
Just a few years ago, our region’s economy was No. 4 nationally and about to overtake Chicago to be No. 3. Now, it has fallen to No. 6 and faces stiff competition from other regions that have gotten their acts together to compete globally.
Our terrific workforce, exemplary education centers and other resources set us up well to compete, but we must shift our focus from local to regional and adopt top-down decision-making over bottom-up, if we are to succeed in this new environment. This will require developing strong public-private partnerships and providing an infrastructure that can support these changes.
Our current transportation infrastructure is a mess and cannot be ignored if we wish to maintain our current workforce and attract new talent and businesses. We need to be working on fixing our Metro system and getting another river crossing. At a recent event, Dulles Matters, Gov. Terry McAuliffe echoed the need for another river crossing, stating that it would improve the vitality of the Dulles airport and the region. Increased activity at Dulles and a major public project would spur economic development and create jobs. But in order to get another river crossing built, we need Gov. Larry Hogan and Maryland to come to the table.
These are the kinds of projects we need to be planning for and implementing if we want to move our region forward. We need to stop thinking about what is politically correct today and start thinking about what needs to get done for tomorrow. The Washington region will always be a special place to live, work, play and learn, but things are changing and we need to take action to ensure that our quality of life is maintained and even improved. More of us need to participate, step up and speak out about what we want our region to be in the future. We cannot afford to take what we have for granted, and we must think regionally.
Bob Buchanan, a principal at Gaithersburg developer Buchanan Partners LLC, is president and founder of the 2030 Group, an association of Washington’s top business leaders focused on regional long-term decision-making and solutions.
Can Regionalism Turn Around Our Deteriorating Economy and Buffer Unprecedented Threats to the National Capital Region’s Quality of Life?
That is a question The 2030 Group’s founder, Bob Buchanan, will delve into during his speech on April 20th at the 2nd Annual Leadership in Real Estate Lecture hosted by GMU’s Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship.
To sign up for event, click here.
WHO: Bob Buchanan, founder of The 2030 group and principal at Buchanan Partners, LLC
WHAT: 2nd Annual Leadership in Real Estate Lecture
WHERE: Arlington Campus, George Mason University
3351 N Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201
WHEN: Monday, April 20, 2015 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm (EDT)
James W. Hazel is a 2030 Group member, and chairman of the board of Virginia FREE (Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education), a business association providing nonpartisan political research and analysis to business and industry in Virginia.
Political conventions and primary campaigns are in full swing across the state and that means political rhetoric is at a high at the expense of common sense. Several candidates, mostly self-styled tea party Republicans, are attacking GOP leaders for supporting Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation funding plan enacted this year. Don’t listen to them.
A lot of people in this region are talking about how to get us to act as a region, but we just keep talking. It’s time for action. We are now at a pivotal point in our local economic life cycle.
The Greater Washington metropolitan area has, for decades, enjoyed unparalleled growth and prosperity, largely fueled by a steady increase in federal government spending and procurement strategies that have created jobs within the region. Private businesses, including large corporations, have become so accustomed to the steady growth fueled by federal spending that they have neither identified nor acted upon the need for their proactive involvement in the economic development of the region.