The City of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has a comprehensive plan that is scheduled for a revision in 2015. The revision process provides an opportunity for the City to better address changes in the global economy. Technology is rapidly eliminating geographic constraints to goods and services. Consumers, businesses and residents have increasing choice over where they live, shop and pay taxes. At same time, the most productive individuals and companies are concentrating in select parts of the world. City governments must therefore compete more intensely for the businesses, customers and residents that they need to fulfill public objectives. This paper evaluates the 2005-2025 Comprehensive Plan to identify how changes in 2015 can better align with this new reality.
This study analyzes conditions in the City of Eau Claire, changes in the global economy, the theory and process of comprehensive planning, and the makeup of Eau Claire‟s Comprehensive Plan. The Strategy Change Cycle is used as an instrument to evaluate how well the Eau Claire Plan fits the internal and external economic environment of the City to determine where changes are most imperative.
This paper uncovers a specific need for the 2015 updates: To meet the challenge of a competitive global economy, the Comprehensive Plan must promote a re-alignment of the Eau Claire labor force. A high percentage of area workers are employed in low-paying and volatile manufacturing and sales occupations. Yet, Eau Claire‟s low cost of living, educated population and high quality of life make it possible for the city to acquire high-wage jobs that better utilize the local labor supply. The Comprehensive Plan can help adjust the makeup of Eau Claire area employment opportunities through promotion of telecommuting workers and telecommunications-reliant businesses. By encouraging employment to realign in such a way, the city will be in a far better position to face looming economic challenges.
In Partial Fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy Degree Requirements
Comprehensive Planning in a Competitive Global Economy: Recommendations for the City of Eau Claire.
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
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