Research Area: Economic Development and Smart Cities

The economic development concentration at Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy offers students the opportunity to study the conceptual foundations of the field, learn key analytical techniques, and apply this knowledge to practical economic development issues in local, regional, national, and international contexts.

While significant attention is given to the central role of technology in influencing and stimulating the processes of economic development, the need to produce economic development strategies linked to broader social and political concerns such as sustainability, equity, and efficiency is also recognized.

Students in the economic development policy concentration address such issues as:

  • How to improve employment and the quality of jobs in a community
  • How to revitalize an area hit by industrial decline
  • What to do to support new business creation and technology startup ventures
  • How to upgrade regional labor markets, and
  • How to understand the development of regional innovation systems
  • How to organize urban and regional governance (regionalism)
  • How to construct institutions to govern the development of new markets (ex. carbon)

While economic development is concerned with the promotion of jobs, businesses, and community and regional growth, it is also inescapably bound up with issues of equity, access, distribution, and the quality of life for individuals, communities, regions, and nations.

Moreover, the context for economic development is ever changing, with shifts in economic structures, rapid technological development, increased economic globalization, greater environmental concerns, and ongoing debate about the role and effectiveness of public policy in tackling development issues.