The Florida International University Metropolitan Center is Florida’s leading urban policy think tank and solutions center. Established in 1997, the Center provides economic development, strategic planning, community revitalization, and performance improvement services to public, private and non-profit organizations in South Florida. Its staff and senior researchers are leaders in their respective fields, and bring extensive research, practical, and professional experience to each project. The Center’s research has catalyzed major policy initiatives and projects in housing, economic redevelopment, transportation, social services, and health services throughout South Florida.
Effective economic development strategy relies on a process of identifying opportunity and building on local strengths while addressing challenges and shoring up weaknesses. The search for new economic opportunity requires knowing where to look, and sometimes taking a different look at the local economic landscape to uncover opportunities that at first blush may not be obvious. The City of Doral Economic Analysis: Competitive Assessment provides a data-driven assessment of Doral’s economy and a platform for new economic development policy that addresses the City’s economic development goals and provide solutions for pressing problems.
Overall, the City of Doral faces a transition point. The City has enjoyed rapid economic expansion, population growth and real estate development. This growth has not come without a price, however. With a shrinking inventory of vacant land for new development, the City’s growth will soon begin slowing down from its explosive pace of the last 15 years.
At this point in its history, the City’s leaders have the opportunity to make sound economic choices by mainly focusing on the quality of future economic growth. In choosing to do so, they can enact new development policy that increases opportunity, redresses income inequality, stabilizes the City’s economy against recessionary swings and improves the quality of life for Doral’s residents and visitors.
The FIU Metropolitan Center’s analysis of the City of Doral’s key economic characteristics follows. After review and approval, the Center’s research team will work with City staff and leaders to develop and recommend new development policy and strategies in the subsequent The City of Doral Economic Analysis: Strategic Policy Recommendations Report.
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The City of Doral engaged the FIU Metropolitan Center to complete a Strategic Economic Development Plan to guide the City’s role in shaping Doral’s economic future. The Center first completed The City of Doral Economic Analysis: Competitive Assessment — a data-driven assessment of the key strengths, opportunities and issues regarding Doral’s economy, which serves as the knowledge platform for forward-looking new economic development policy.
Drawn from the Competitive Assessment, this document provides a series of strategic policy and program recommendations based on 1) the Center’s assessment of Doral’s economy, 2) future economic, occupational, workplace, residential and transportation trends, and 3) the Centers understanding of Doral’s stated goals and aspirations to be a model family-friendly City in which to live, work and play, and 4) best practices in local strategic economic development policy.
The Center’s recommendations are framed by four over-arching conclusions. First, the City of Doral has enjoyed explosive economic growth and population expansion shared by few cities since 2000. Doral has developed into a highly diversified economy, balancing manufacturing, advanced services, transshipment, corporate headquarters and unique merchant retail sectors. In fact, its sector mix, combined with its high household incomes and wages, may be a model for Miami-Dade County.
Second, Doral has also developed as highly preferred place to live. The City’s residential development growth has paralleled its jobs growth performance. Over the last eight years, City leaders have had the foresight to balance quality of life issues with economic promoting and funding the development of greater walkability, connectedness, and high quality public spaces and facilities that continue to attract the region’s most skilled and educated workers as a place to live. This growth has not come without a price, however, indicated by the City’s growing transportation congestion, household housing and transportation costs and shrinking supply of housing affordable for most of its workers. Despite building a solid platform for future growth, failure to aggressively address these issues may threaten Doral’s jobs growth and quality of life.
Third, future growth is never guaranteed, as proven by the last recession, which permanently damaged many communities across Florida. Also, the City is now largely built-out. The City’s three annexation proposals will add more tax base, but not more vacant land. Combined with changes in how offices are developed and where and how workers actually work each day, future job growth will come almost exclusively from the expansion and formation of small companies employing 50 or less, and not from large-scale mega development projects or headquarters relocations. This means that traditional land development-based economic development practices will be become less important, and the focus on enhancing the technological, innovation and knowledge and skills capacity of its network of small business will become much more important.
Lastly, if Doral’s last chapter was a story of explosive jobs, residential and population growth, the City’s leaders have the opportunity to write its next chapter by focusing on the quality of future economic growth, expanding opportunity and incomes, stabilizing the City’s economy against recessionary swings and addressing local and regional transportation problems.
Download Strategic Policy Recommendations