Indiana cityscape with trees, bridge, and buildings

Benchmarking U.S. Regional Cities: A Study and Guide for Transformation

State of Indiana

The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) was formed in 1999 to bring together the chief executives of Central Indiana’s prominent corporations, foundations, and universities in a strategic and collaborative effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is the State of Indiana's lead economic development agency.



Fourth Economy Consulting was hired in the summer of 2014 to guide the development of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative. IEDC realized that despite great efforts to make their state a great place to do business, employers were still struggling to find qualified employees and the tax base was continuing to erode as the state was not retaining and attracting young talent.



Our team profiled the nation’s transformed regional cities, created a data framework of indicators defining Quality of Place, and provided guidance as the state launched a groundbreaking initiative. We examined eleven of the United States’ most transformed regional cities through site visits, interviews with current and past civic leaders, and data analysis, from which we developed case studies and a set of common themes. 



Our research resulted in a published report titled, "Benchmarking U.S. Regional Cities: A Study and Guide for Transformation" (2014). Based on our findings and strategic advice, IEDC created the Regional Cities Initiative to incentivize regional collaboration, cross-sector partnerships, bold planning, and quality of place investments by offering $126 million in matching funds to three regions. According to a report by Ball State University in December 2017, just two years after the three winning regions created their plans the Initiative’s $126 million leveraged $1.2 billion in additional non-state investment, $802 million of which came from the private sector.  


Economic Development Strategy





Economic Development Organization

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Phone: (412) 325-2457

Email: engage (at)


Fourth Economy Consulting
PO Box 81620
Pittsburgh, PA 15217