Economic Health Means Business: The Fort Collins Story

What do brews, beauty and bikes have to do with the Fort Collins, Colorado, economy? Everything.

Fort Collins is at the forefront of a paradigm shift in economic development. In fact, this city of 160,000 residents in North Central Colorado intentionally uses the term “economic health” instead of “economic development” to better reflect its objective of long-term community vitality.

The city’s 2015 Economic Health Strategic Plan outlines basic tenets of an economically healthy, sustainable economy: residents can find employment and afford to live in the community; businesses are able and encouraged to start, remain, and expand in the community; and everyone can expect quality city services and sustainable, attractive infrastructure.

Fort Collins explicitly intends its economic strategies to reinforce key community goals, such as a distinctive and attractive community image, and beloved assets. Some of the more unique elements of Fort Collins’ approach include building on strengths (such as majestic Rocky Mountain scenery and renowned breweries and bicycle infrastructure); fostering entrepreneurship and innovation to encourage business growth from within the community; and supporting investments that reinforce the qualities that attract so many people to the city in the first place.

Listen to Deputy City Manager Jeff Mihelich and Economic Health Director Josh Birks as they outline Fort Collins’ approach to optimizing the city’s economic, environmental and social well-being.

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