The District is on the move as a globally-competitive city. Not only is it the nation’s capital - a global center of knowledge and power and the center of one of America’s largest and most successful metropolitan areas - it is a city of unique and diverse neighborhoods. The District is also evolving into a more sustainable, innovative and creative place, leveraging its key assets and attributes, which include:
- A vibrant downtown and emerging neighborhoods of activity, which include walkable commercial districts at the core of distinctive neighborhoods;
- A vast knowledge base that includes world-class universities, federal research institutions and non profit think tanks
- A unique international and cultural presence, with 180 embassies and foreign missions
- Impressive cultural and entertainment amenities, with 70 museums and nearly 90 performing arts organizations;
- Green and sustainable development practices, with more LEED-certified and LEED-registered buildings than any other comparable city in North America;
- An increasingly active base of creatives, technologists and other entrepreneurs, and a highly educated workforce; and
- The hub of the regional transportation system, with multiple transit options; actionomics[dc] builds on the District’s emerging strengths. Findings from recent research efforts have helped increase understanding about these strengths and the multi-faceted nature of DC's economy. These efforts include the Creative DC Action Agenda, the Green Collar Jobs Study, and the Retail Action Strategy.
The initiative was launched in Fall 2009, with a forum that catalyzed collaborative action across the creative, green, technology, non-profit, education and technology sectors. Nearly 200 stakeholders attended the forum, which featured eight different workgroups. At each session, stakeholders developed up to three key project ideas for further exploration and implementation. The eight workgroups are listed below.
- Space Finder: Matching artists, filmmakers, other creatives, and retailers to space through online search tools. The work group reviewed the development of a retail space clearinghouse for DC and how it could be applied to the space needs of creative and green businesses and activities. This group is of particular interest to arts and cultural management organizations, creative and green businesses, retailers, developers, landlords, and brokers
- Temporary Urbanism: Transforming vacant spaces into vibrant destinations and animated showcases through recreation, retail, entertainment or arts uses. This work group brought together individuals from the development, arts, community development and public sectors. The group will design and launch a pilot temporary urbanism program to transform a vacant space into an active place.
- Incubators: Supporting small business development through incubators and shared workspace.The work group’s efforts built upon existing research, comparing best practices, reviewing the strengths of existing incubation activity and developing the general framework for business incubation in the District.
- Technology: Expanding the District’s technology base. This work group reviewed strategies for business and entrepreneur attraction, growth and retention, as well as marketing of the District’s technology sector.
- Entrepreneurship: Exploring new, innovative solutions for small business growth and business incubation. The work group sought to identify the challenges faced by District entrepreneurs and small business owners in their attempts to start, grow, and bring innovation to the city. Participants also identified the resources necessary to address these gaps and proposed creative ways of improving small business access to these resources
- Education and Employment: Designing a training program for project managers and administrators at the new DC Community College. The work group outlined a process designed to identify courses of study, the content of which would address the needs of today’s employers. Participants reviewed the market demand for new programs, defined the skills necessary to meet this demand, and determined what was needed for rollout and initial testing.
- Finance: Promoting financial inclusion for the underbanked in DC through Bank on Washington a program to provide financial services to the 50,000-100,000 households in the District that are unbanked or underbanked. The work group, comprised of representatives from financial institutions and community organizations, identified the appropriate product requirements for financial institutions to participate in Bank on Washington.
- Non-Profits: Exploring the challenges and opportunities of running not-for-profit organizations.This workgroup reviewed attraction and retention strategies for non profits, including the incentives that are available to emerging office markets, improved marketing of the benefits of office condominiums in DC to associations and non-profits, and the types of public/private partnerships that can support these strategies.
Following the forum, workgroups held a series of meetings to further explore, refine and move forward key project ideas. OP and WDCEP are tracking each workgroup, and providing support as needed.