Economic Development Plan update

While the nation has shifted from a manufacturing based  to an innovation based economy, Menlo Park's land use, transportation and economic strategies have not followed suit. As a result, Menlo Park has lost ground compared to neighboring cities.  To address this, we have begun updating our Economic Development Plan to make Menlo Park more competitive in the regional and global economy. The Economic Development Plan is important because it will help ensure that the land use changes we envision in ConnectMenlo, the land use and mobility update to the City's General Plan, align with current and future market demand.
We were picky in choosing our consultants for the Update and are pleased to announce we have enlisted some of the nation's most forward thinkers and experts to assist us.
Build Public
Build Public (formerly Up Urban Inc.) was selected as a consultant because of their experience working with San Francisco and San Jose to better capture the value of development aimed at supporting the tech sector, while also streamlining approval processes.  Build Public's founder Michael Yarne recently contributed to a story in the New Yorker about the issues associated with San Francisco's outdated planning code and the impacts on development. The article explains that, “San Francisco has one of the country’s most arcane planning codes. There are more than sixty zoning divisions, and all construction is subject to discretionary review, so projects that might get swiftly under way in other cities can struggle through bureaucracy for years.” This is very similar to the issues we face in Menlo Park.
The New Geography of Jobs

University of California, Berkeley Economics Professor Enrico Moretti, one of the foremost experts on how government can help maximize the benefits of the transition from the manufacturing to the innovation economy, is also assisting with the Economic Development Plan Update as part of Yarne's team. Moretti's book, The New Geography of Jobs, shows innovation jobs have a multiplier effect, producing jobs in sectors that support tech employment.  These support jobs offer higher salaries and therefore more discretionary income then similar jobs in other geographic areas. What’s more, the first two words in his book are “Menlo Park.”  To learn more about his research, you can listen to Moretti’s recent discussion with Michael Krasny on KQED’s Forum.