Innovation Drives WDCEP Annual Meeting and Development Showcase

This year’s annual meeting focused on new ideas—and the impact of innovation on DC’s dynamic development activity and booming economy. The 2007/2008 Development Report estimates since 2001 about $63 billion of projects have been completed, are under construction or in the pipeline.

Over 70 exhibitors from across the industry, city agencies, developers, brokers, green building consultants, contractors, and architects highlighted their innovative projects at the Development Showcase.

More than 1,000 people gathered for the luncheon program and seemed particularly captivated, intrigued and inspired by Social Compact CEO and president John Talmage’s talk on a new idea called Information Led Development. Talmage talked about how the explosion of misinformation and badly organized information is responsible for missed opportunities in urban development across the US. Social Compact’s research focuses on information led development that is turning deficit understanding about America’s undervalued and underserved cities into asset understanding. Social Compact found that neighborhoods with the highest census undercount tend to be poor and predominantly minority communities. In 200 undervalued neighborhoods across the country, Social Compact found $20 billion more buying power per aggregate household, 850,000 more residents and falling crime rates. Talmage explained that it is imperative public policy around urban renewal be based on market realities not assumptions.

The challenge in both the public and private sector is to develop information that uncovers the market potential in communities. Having advised mayors across the country on using better information to improve underserved neighborhoods, Talmage shared some surprising new data from Social Compact’s 2007 DrillDown study on DC:

* The DrillDown estimates the District population at 603,238, a difference of over 31,000 people, nearly 19,000 households, from Census 2000 numbers (572,059) and 22,000 people more than the 2006 Census population estimate (581,530).
* Over $1 billion is spent outside the District on retail purchases, signaling sizable unmet retail demand in many District neighborhoods. $176 million in grocery leakage, meaning DC residents spend millions of dollars outside the District on grocery purchases alone. Twenty one District neighborhoods are without a full service grocer.
* An informal economy worth $1 billion, comprising just over 5% of the total economy.

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Posted Under: DC News