The Institute is an engaged research enterprise that aims to understand, analyze, and inform economic development strategies particularly in struggling regions in both rural and urban areas, especially in Colorado. The dual focus on rural and urban areas leverages the neglected symmetries and synergies between traditionally disparate geographies highlighted by more than two decades of REDI scholar research. These overlaps may be the key to unlocking untapped potential for economically-marginalized populations in both the city and countryside, such as past work identifying food deserts in inner-city Denver to uncovering new links between San Luis Valley agriculture and the urban brewing industries.

The new team will address evolving efforts, such as Denver’s National Western neighborhood reunification and redevelopment project as well as President Frank’s APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity agenda, alongside initiating innovative new research trajectories. The results will be brief policy bulletins released on a regular basis, which will themselves be either the genesis or product of scholarly research projects. The joint work will help raise CSU’s profile in the state and the economics discipline, while simultaneously fulfilling the land-grant mission of research, engagement, and instruction. The Institute will also take a broader view of regional development, leveraging its home in a College of Liberal Arts to incorporate the role of culture and the arts in a region’s cohesion and livability, themselves important influences on and benchmarks for economic development.

REDI@CSU already has an external international partner. The University of Birmingham’s Business School recently made an investment in its own research-oriented City-REDI (City-Region Economic Development Institute). The two institutes are currently developing early-stage collaborations, within which we have explicitly agreed on the parallel monikers for our institutes. This partnership should lead to a range of cross-authored publications and co-development of generalizable frontier methods and models that can help us understand and address economic challenges on both sides of the Atlantic.

Most importantly, the Institute will remain focused on engaged research-driven analyses, developing, applying, and refining the most frontier methods and perspectives in service to Colorado’s regions and beyond. In that sense, the goal is to not only make the Institute the natural partner for public, private, and non-profit organizations seeking to promote sustainable regional economic development, but also be recognized as a leading global source of cutting-edge urban, rural, and regional economics scholarship.

A new initiative of the Institute is the Poverty Action Center (PAC@REDI) which aims to utilize interdisciplinary academic tools and mixed-methods research approaches to help guide poverty action locally and globally.  Current REDI researchers in this area are using original survey design and econometric data analysis to answer questions at the intersection of poverty, access to education, and student achievement.

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