Call to Action | Launching the Equity in Atlanta Series

Updated: Jan 22

Following almost a week in Atlanta, GA, visiting with local organizations, companies, and at the Annual International Economic Development Conference, two things are certain:

locally-produced tomato jam is a culinary marvel, and we absolutely need to be paying attention to Atlanta as a city driving catalytic economic development projects that embed equity into their models.

Karp Strategies presented a conference session on creative engagement strategies at IEDC with James Rojas, founder of Place It!, and Julian Kiganda, CEO of JBK Designs to an unsuspecting crowd of practitioners who within minutes were using everyday objects to bring their ideal inclusive economies to life - and learning hands-on solutions to bring back to their thorniest challenges.

This year’s conference theme, inclusive economic development - fulfilling dreams, offered an immersive look at some of Atlanta’s flagship projects such as the BeltLine and Aerotropolis, deep conversations with practitioners from around the globe, and surfaced questions of how equity shows up in community economic development and real estate projects.


Both the conversation and practice of economic development is changing nationwide and to keep pace, we’re going to have to ask the hard questions.

Barely off the plane, we’re excited to report back to our closest partners and colleagues in real-time to share what we learned and its very real implications on our collective everyday work. We hope this update is useful to you in your daily practice.

Some of the big questions that surfaced last week are outlined below. Click on a question to read our take and as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to continue the conversation! We would be happy to connect you to those we met in Atlanta, or talk with you about how we can support your work. 


Equity in Atlanta #1 | What’s the buzz with Atlanta? What is driving economic development in this city, and why should we be paying attention?


Equity in Atlanta #2 | What is equitable economic development anyway - new buzzword or can I take real action to bring it to my project?


Equity in Atlanta #3 | How can we advance seemingly impossible equitable development initiatives without being tied to political cycles?


Equity in Atlanta #4 | From railroad to public park, from an airforce base to a region’s leading film studio- what role do adaptive reuse projects play in the economic vitality of a region?


Equity in Atlanta #5 | How are we paying for these catalytic economic development projects?


Equity in Atlanta #6 | How do we build a skilled workforce to match our economic development initiatives and meet future demand?


To learn more about any of these topics or ideas that we brought back from IEDC, email us or give a call. We’re happy to share ideas, learn how we can support YOUR initiative, and connect you to anyone we met during our travels.

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