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ARC Board Adopts Update to Atlanta Region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

Atlanta — Dec 21, 2022

The Atlanta Regional Commission Board adopted an update to the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which aims to foster economic prosperity across metro Atlanta, with an emphasis on equity, resiliency, and addressing the needs of the region’s underserved communities.

The Atlanta Regional Commission, which serves as the federal Economic Development District for the 11-county region, updates the CEDS every five years. The CEDS update includes the following strategies:

  • Position equity as the foundation for regional and local economic development initiatives
  • Foster business innovation by supporting the development of small and mid-sized businesses
  • Ensure the global and national competitiveness of metro Atlanta’s economy
  • Build on previous CEDS success to promote the economic resiliency and prosperity of all residents, with a renewed focus on equity

“This plan provides a roadmap to help our region build a thriving, inclusive, and resilient economy that works for all residents,” said ARC Executive Director & CEO Anna Roach. “Execution of this plan will require bold action, innovative ideas, and close collaboration. Metro Atlanta cannot truly be successful until all of us have the opportunity to find success.”

The CEDS update was developed over the past year with robust community input that included an advisory committee and technical committee, focus groups, stakeholder interviews, public surveys, and an economic forum of regional leaders, said ARC Program Manager Keri Stevens, who led the effort. A broader network of regional leaders, organizations, stakeholders, and individuals will partner with ARC and work with each other in 2023 to focus on CEDS implementation.

“This CEDS update ensures that equity is at the center of the region’s economic development efforts while also focusing on small businesses, which employ about 42% of the region’s workforce,” Stevens said.

The CEDS plan detailed several action steps, including:

  • Supporting the implementation of Aerotropolis Atlanta’s Blueprint 2.0, which aims to catalyze the communities around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
  • Creating an inventory of assets in the region’s creative sectors, such as art, music, film, gaming, digital, software, fashion, and sports.

Additional action steps were detailed that will require an initial research period and coordination with local or state partners. These include:

  • Updating local and state procurement regulations to facilitate access and participation of small and minority businesses.
  • Streamlining permitting, development, and other regulatory processes at the local level to meet changing business needs.

This CEDS update builds on ARC’s past economic development planning work, which led to the creation of several key initiatives, including:

  • The Aerotropolis Alliance, a collaborative effort to improve the regional economic competitiveness of the area around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
  • The Atlanta Regional Marketing Alliance, which convenes the region’s economic development organizations to promote metro Atlanta as a top destination for businesses looking to move or expand.
  • The Metro Atlanta Housing Strategy, which helps local governments identify effective approaches to increase housing affordability and stability.
  • Learn4Life, a collaborative effort of local school districts, communities, businesses, and nonprofits that uses data to identify best practices to improve educational outcomes.

To learn more, download the full CEDS report.


The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 11-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 74 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention, and planning resources on key regional issues.

Contact Name: Paul Donsky
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