Economic Revitalization and Community Planning

HR&A’s work unlocks the potential for economic growth through site and district-wide master plans, and revitalization strategies for neighborhoods, cities and metropolitan regions.

HR&A is an industry leader in developing strategies to stimulate transformative growth across North America and around the world. Our economic revitalization and community planning services include:


  • Crafting master plans for sites, neighborhoods, and campuses in partnership with urban designers, planners, architects, landscape architects and engineers;
  • Developing community-based plans that engage residents and stakeholders to produce positive physical change and shared prosperity, and to contribute to a healthy environment and population;
  • Designing policies that support industry sector growth to attract and retain jobs, businesses and investment;
  • Creating economic revitalization strategies for cities and regions that balance growth, equity, and sustainability; and
  • Establishing the economic framework for a wide range of planning efforts including innovation and cultural districts, university and institutional campuses, brownfields and industrial waterfronts, and former military bases.

HR&A grounds all recommendations in analysis.

In-depth quantitative economic analyses inform all of our recommendations. We consider a client’s planning and economic development challenges by examining:


  • Demographics, including population size and composition, employment, income, and education or skill base;
  • Economic base, including industry clusters and trends, current economic development initiatives, development anchors, and major employers;
  • Real estate and land use, including residential, commercial, industrial, and retail market trends;
  • Existing infrastructure, such as transit hubs, public spaces, historic building stock, cultural attractions, parking, and highway infrastructure;
  • Regulatory conditions and incentives, including zoning, public leasing and acquisition/disposition ordinances, affordable housing policies, density bonuses, and other public benefit and development impact fee structures; and
  • Resilience vulnerabilities and sustainability goals, including energy needs, and climate adaptation commitments at the regional, city, district and individual building scales;
  • Management and governance capacity, including public, quasi-public, non-profit, and private entities.

HR&A has extensive experience leading the implementation of market-based revitalization and development plans, in collaboration with public officials, community leaders, residents, businesses, developers and other stakeholders.

Our goal is to strengthen and preserve the character of individual communities. We examine the market drivers of a location, and then identify first steps that will have a catalytic effect on inclusive growth and development, as well as long-term actions. We secure and structure funding for master plans and economic development projects – including infrastructure and open space — leveraging public and private funding opportunities and government incentive programs. We also understand that governance is a crucial component of implementation, and help clients create and enhance organizational capacity to be advocates for and managers of economic development and revitalization efforts.



Image Courtesy: Talking Transition