The Workshop: A Summary
Other Workshop Videos
Videos about several economic development-related projects were aired during the workshop. Click on the titles below to learn more and see what was shown.
Featuring Mike Watson, director of AARP Livable Communities, Coralette Hannon, director of AARP Government Affairs/Livable Communities, and Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief engagement officer.
Plenary Panel — The Built Environment
The panel discussed the ways livability features — such as multimodal transportation, housing diversity and vibrant downtowns — positively impact local economies.
MODERATOR: Shannon Guzman, is the director of Housing and Livable Communities for the AARP Public Policy Institute.
- Marques King, RA, is an architect, practicing urban planner and small-scale developer in Detroit, Michigan, through his firm Fabric[K] Design. King is also on the faculty of the Incremental Development Alliance.
- Toccarra Nicole Thomas, AICP, is the director of Land Use and Development at Smart Growth America, where she leads the Form-Based Codes Institute.
Conversation — Digital Connections
The discussion focused on the ways access to high-speed internet (i.e., broadband) increases economic development, provides opportunities for business growth, advances upward mobility and promotes independence.
MODERATOR: Dawit Kahsai is a director with AARP Government Affairs. He works to increase high-speed internet access and affordability for older adults.
- Mignon Clyburn is principal at MLC Strategies and a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. During her tenure, the FCC shaped a framework to better enable entrepreneurship and innovation in diverse, underserved and marginalized communities.
Conversation — Local Leaders Taking Action
This discussion featured two mayors who are fostering transformative economic development in their communities.
MODERATOR: Nancy LeaMond is the executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer for AARP. She has responsibility for driving AARP’s social mission on behalf of Americans 50-plus and their families. She leads the government affairs and legislative campaigns for AARP, which is widely seen as one of the nation's most powerful advocacy organizations.
- Bryan Barnett has served as the mayor of Rochester Hills, Michigan, since 2006 and is the city's longest serving mayor. His administration has received local, national and international recognition for innovation, fiscal responsibility, operational excellence and environmental leadership.
- Indya Kincannon has served as the mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, since 2019. Her administration is working to provide equitable access to services, economic development projects, affordable housing and high-speed internet in rural areas.
Featuring Mike Watson, director of AARP Livable Communities, and Carly Roszkowski, vice president, AARP Financial Resilience.
Keynote Address by Ilana Preuss
Ilana Preuss is the founder and CEO of Recast City. She works with local officials, real estate developers and civic leaders to integrate spaces for small-scale producers into redevelopment projects and place-based economic development that build economic opportunity for more people.
Conversation — AARP Community Challenge Grantee Interview
This conversation highlighted a 2021 AARP Community Challenge grantee’s economic development initiative (called “Launch Pod”) and the ways the project has encouraged local entrepreneurship and activated public spaces.
MODERATOR: Mike Watson is the director of AARP Livable Communities.
- Lloyd Purdy is the economic development manager for the City of Tigard, Oregon.
Plenary Panel — Work and Jobs
The panel discussed how workforce upskilling and support for small businesses can help revitalize communities.
MODERATOR: Denise Bottcher is the director of AARP Louisiana.
- Cherie LaCour-Duckworth is the vice president of the Urban League of Louisiana's office of workforce development.
- Mauricio Garcia is the senior vice president for programs at UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization.
Plenary Panel — Local Economies
The panel discussed how livability efforts enable residents to support the economy through paid and unpaid contributions, such as volunteerism, caregiving and charitable donations.
MODERATOR: Tricia Sandiego is a senior advisor for AARP Caregiving and Health.
- Lily Hoffman is the associate director of programs for Habitat for Humanity International's housing and community strategy. She works to support the Habitat network in implementing strategies that improve racial, health and housing equity.
- Heather Black is the vice president of United Way Worldwide's 211 system strategy. She previously served as a vice president for United Way of North Carolina.
As the final workshop activity each day, AARP hosted small-group conversations between workshop participants about critical economic development-related topics. (These sessions were not recorded.)
- It’s Not Economic Development If It’s Not Sustainable
Is it possible to have thriving and resilient communities that align with sustainability goals? Workshop attendees spoke with experts about how economic development doesn’t require leaders to compromise on their values.
- Housing to Support Economic Development
Middle income and age-friendly housing is workforce housing. Workshop attendees spoke with experts about how workforce retention and housing stability create a strong economy and livable communities for all.
- Rural and Urban Digital Access for a Thriving Older Adult Population
In today’s world, digital access is a must-have for maintaining a robust, quality workforce. Workshop attendees spoke with experts about the different digital needs of different communities.
- Tapping Into Older Workers and Volunteers to Lift the Local Economy
Older adults can be assets to local economies as both workers and volunteers. Workshop attendees spoke with experts about strategies that help communities to see the value of older workers.
- Living Near Transit: What Does It Mean for Workers?
Transportation is a lot more than just getting people from Point A to Point B. Workshop attendees spoke with experts about the ways affordable, convenient transit options are critical to a thriving economy and a robust workforce.
- Rural Challenges in Economic Development
Workshop attendees spoke with some of the Innovation Showcase presenters about economic opportunities in small, less densely-populated places.
Page updated October 2023
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Past Conferences and Workshops
Find materials and videos from AARP Livable Communities events about transportation, placemaking, rural communities, overall livability and more. Learn more