12 Qualities that Drive Successful Community Development

GAI Community Solutions Group Sr. Directors Owen Beitsch and Thomas Kohler explore the resurgence of the small U.S. city as the driving force behind its own community development initiatives.


Real Estate IssuesAn article titled “The Revolution, Part II: Revisiting Opportunity in the Small Town” co-written by GAI Community Solutions Group Senior Directors Owen Beitsch, PhD, FAICP, CRE, and Thomas Kohler has been published in Real Estate Issues, Volume 42, Number 3. Real Estate Issues is a publication of The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE).

Beitsch and Kohler’s article examines the resurgence of the small U.S. city as the driver behind its own community development initiatives as economic support and guidance for development shifts away from Washington and is taken up by local governments and community leaders. The article identifies 12 key community strengths that help power successful locally generated development undertakings.

Excerpted from the article:

Fundamental to the significance of cities and towns is the simple observation that federalism is at once too distant, distracted, and disinterested to reach down and help the most basic units of government. Although our towns and cities are the nation’s building blocks, Washington is handicapped from sharing in their future except in the most specific and limited ways. Increasingly its interest is reserved for only the largest cities and even that support may wane as the Trump presidency lays out its urban policy platform. …

… The planning, real estate, and economic development communities are responding to this reality by cultivating and incubating locally existing entrepreneurial skills and ideas. For those in real estate especially, opportunities have always been substantively driven by local economic fundamentals. Now the notion of leveraging obvious strengths and resources is center stage across multiple disciplines with shared objectives.

Read the full article

Contact Owen Beitsch, PhD, FAICP, CRE, 321.319.3131, or Thomas Kohler, 321.319.3133, of GAI’s Community Solutions Group for more information about community development and infrastructure investment.


Owen BeitschOwen Beitsch, PhD, FAICP, CRE has been active in the management and execution of complex studies for public and private clients for many years. His particular interest in special issues confronting urban areas is demonstrated in both his civic and business activities. A member of The Counselors of Real Estate and a Fellow in the American Institute of Certified Planners, Owen recently concluded eight years of service as a member of the Orlando Housing Board of Commissioners. Owen is a faculty member in the urban and regional planning program at the University of Central Florida.

Tom KohlerThomas Kohler has extensive experience in strategic planning and public policy, project implementation strategies, and public/private negotiations. Tom serves a number of communities as advisor on tax increment financing, strategic economic planning, incentive policies, and implementation programming. With some 26 years of experience in public service, Tom was an integral part of almost every major development project in the City of Orlando, FL through 2001.

Both Owen Beitsch and Thomas Kohler are instructors in redevelopment professional certification at the Florida Redevelopment Association Academy.

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