Economic Development Self-Assessment Tool

The Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy has developed a practical tool to help cities and towns analyze their capacity for economic development. Known as EDSAT, (Economic Development Self-Assessment Tool), this is a secure and confidential online self-assessment mechanism for evaluating and interpreting a municipal jurisdiction’s characteristics and processes directly linked to the factors affecting local investment.

Municipalities start by identifying and promoting their “deal makers” that foster economic growth and opportunity and surmounting the “deal breakers” within their control that have been working against their efforts. EDSAT enhances the power of local officials to affect positive change in policies and procedures and to better enable these communities to compete for critically needed private sector investment—that is, EDSAT is one of the first steps mayors and city managers can take to becoming the “CEO of Economic Development” for their communities.

Guided by input from a broad group of public and private sector partners from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties to the National League of Cities and the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Center’s mission is to create a practical set of tools for local governments to better position themselves to attract industry, private investment, a sustainable tax base and high-quality well-paying jobs.

With over 250 questions, this rigorous examination helps public officials explore their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats across 10 assessment categories:

1. Access to Customers/Markets
2. Concentration of Businesses & Services
3. Real Estate and Infrastructure
4. Labor Market Factors
5. Municipal Permit Processes
6. Community Quality of Life
7. Site Related Amenities
8. Business Incentives
9. Local Tax Rates
10. Access to Local Information

Once the self-assessment is completed, Dukakis Center staff analyzes it and prepares a comprehensive report that weighs each community’s performance against the multi-jurisdictional database that the Center is continuously expanding as more municipalities participate in the self-assessment. Local officials receive specific feedback in each assessment category, and they can then use the results as a reality check on their community’s economic development strategy.

Download a recent EDSAT presentation.

For more information, contact:

Ted Landsmark, Director, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy

Alicia Sasser Modestino, Associate Director, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy