RMA’s Kim Briesemeister on How City Leaders Must Plan for Smart Growth Trends

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- Kim Briesemeister, co-founder of RMA, recently spoke at the Smart Growth Partnership event in Fort Lauderdale addressing the best ways for city leaders to stay ahead of the trends that are affecting the global economy. The redevelopment expert and author of "Reinventing Your City" stressed the importance of concentrating on the changing retail environment and the growth of smart cities.

"In a recent review of 100 mayors' state of the city addresses, economic development was the number one topic in 75 percent of the speeches nationwide," said Briesemeister. "But to achieve success, city leaders must make strategic changes now to keep pace with what the business community is doing."

As an example, during her speech, Briesemeister noted that city leaders must assess their current zoning to plan for the shifting retail environment.

"With our city-county clients, we are advising them not to look at real estate assets as they exist now, but to look at them as they may be in the future," explained Briesemeister. "One example is in the food and grocery industry where the rapid advancement of online ordering and delivery will change the footprint of stores nationwide, creating potentially smaller front-of-house retail spaces and larger expanses for storage."

Briesemeister also noted that the rapidly increasing percentage of people who purchase groceries online will necessitate centralized urban distribution centers, as rural centers will be unable to meet timely delivery demands. However, current zoning does not typically allow for distribution centers in downtowns, and therefore may need to be adjusted. Another adjustment will be modifications in drop off, pick up and delivery zones near urban stores which will be impacted by cars becoming autonomous.

"Changes in zoning laws will be required to meet the shift in how we buy goods," said Briesemeister.

An additional development that city leaders also need to be ready for is the advent of smart buildings. In the Netherlands, a new concept was introduced that far surpassed the basic LEED certified conditions. In one case, a building was outfitted with 32,000 sensors that constantly monitor everything, including which rooms are the dirtiest so cleaning crews know where to concentrate their time.

"These smart buildings will increase efficiency at many levels, and city leaders need to be aware of that impact," explained Briesemeister. "From changes in permitting laws to timing the flow of Uber pickups and coordinating traffic controls, technology is going to have an even greater effect on our daily lives. These advances will be implemented by the business community quickly, so futuristic city planning must be happening now."

For Briesemeister and the team of experts at RMA, working with city leaders to stay ahead of the trends is critical to a successful economic development plan.

"Reinventing a city is a constant process," explained Briesemeister. "Cities that stay atop of the trends, and become economic development role models, generally have leaders that understand the importance of being progressive and on the cutting edge of society."

About RMA:

Founded in 2009 by Kim Briesemeister and Chris Brown, Redevelopment Management Associates (RMA) is comprised of a phenomenal team of redevelopment experts passionate about building better communities. RMA is the most experienced full-service economic redevelopment consulting and management firm, headquartered in the state of Florida, specializing in revitalizing core areas and corridors for cities, counties and special districts nationwide. The co-founders are also the authors of one of the definitive books about city redevelopment, "Reinventing Your City: 8 Steps to Turn Your City Around." Learn more at: http://www.rma.us.com/.

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