Long-term urban investment is no “silver bullet”

An area resident (“and we didn’t even get a chance to thank him”) this week called attention to Denver-based journalist Michael Scott’s blog post, “Medical Districts as Anchors of Urban Revitalization.” While Scott’s specific examples are much larger than MVHS’s regional healthcare campus, his article supports the concept of urban core medical centers as economic and quality-of life-anchors for communities, provided that such projects are thoughtful, well-planned, long-term investments:

  • Healthcare systems have long been an important element in . . . local communities . . . delivering necessary medical services [and facilitating] the flow of billions of dollars of spending, boosting local economies both directly and indirectly.
  • Despite the strong presence of medical institutions in center-city areas throughout the nation, inner city environments continue to struggle with declining economic fortunes. Much of this can be attributed to the loss of local investments in commerce and industry that once served as a stabilizing foundation . . .
  • It is widely recognized that hospitals and medical centers have the capacity to provide a strong, stabilizing presence to counterbalance some of the challenges that these neighborhoods face. These “anchor institutions” often possess a wealth of physical and economic assets, as well as political influence; all factors that can help spark a transformational reset of surrounding area conditions.
  • Healthcare systems that redeploy their institutional assets and resources to create economic benefits for surrounding neighborhoods can be a worthy investment if executed thoughtfully . . .
  • Leaders often see these efforts as a “silver bullet” that could potentially turn around a locality overnight. They believe that a simple set of actions will quickly create the economic development multiplier that everyone hopes for. This is a far cry from reality . . . these initiatives can take many years and should be viewed as long-term investments by the institution. Executing a unified approach and comprehensive strategy is key to ensuring a lasting impact; one that makes sense for both the healthcare institution as well as the community as a whole.
  • In light of the continued emergence of health institutions as community anchors, look for medical districts to emerge as hubs of employment, innovation, sharing economy activities, medical tourism, and tax revenue generation, serving as an economic boost for areas that have long been abandoned. And by championing a healthy lifestyles concept, these districts offer added value in terms of addressing persistent health and wellness issues that have long affected underserved communities within their reach.

Read the full article at: http://icic.org/medical-districts-anchors-urban-revitalization/


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