The South Bend - Elkhart Region is a knowledge-driven, highly connected region that serves and provides access to a global innovation economy. We will be recognized for our World-Class Higher Education and Community Partnerships, Superior Access and Connectivity and High-Performing Communities. South Bend Elkhart is the proud home to the University of Notre Dame, and will become a region of connected innovation hubs.
The Regional Cities Initiative (RCI) has drawn necessary attention to a critical economic development truth—without a growing, highly skilled resident population, communities will not realize their full investment and economic potential.
For the last several decades, the region has struggled to attract new residents and retain the tens of thousands of high-value students and professionals that have, at one time, called the 47+ communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan home. With over 40,000 people enrolled in higher education programs, there is a pipeline of talent primed for retention within the region.
The Regional Development Plan draws upon research and insights gained from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s (IEDC) Regional Cities Report and its best practice learning, as well as a growing body of knowledge within the emerging discipline of place-based economic development. Place-based development strategies work to align and improve both the physical environment in which people live and work and the unique resources that exist within communities that can support business development and innovation for greater economic development output. The plan works to influence four key place-based success factors critical in creating competitive places and employment centers. They include: Density, Connectivity, Amenities, and Productivity.