Eastern Shore Land Conservancy


Land Conservation

Land Use & Policy

Ways to Give


News / Blog



Board of Directors




Mission Statement
Conserve, steward, and advocate for the unique rural landscape of the Eastern Shore.

ExcellenceITAC Accreditation
eastern shore maryland farmland conservation


McKnight on the Fourth Economy

In his keynote address, Stephen McKnight, Vice President of Community and Market Assessments for Fourth Economy Consulting advised Annual Planning Conference participants to consider the nature of our evolving economy in planning growth for Eastern Shore communities.
National issues that determine local economic development include global financial uncertainty, political divides, federal transportation funding and revenue generation, including taxes, incentives, and global competition. Fourth Economy Consulting examines historical economic development to determine characteristics of a successful economic development model today. The first three economies in the United States were agricultural, manufacturing, and technology.

Today’s economy has the following characteristics:
• Constant innovation
• Collaborative approaches
• Enabled and accelerated by the rise of social media
• Smaller size of companies
• Grow by being buying companies or being bought by other companies
• Corporate image is important
• Place based, happening in both urban and rural settings
Trends that impact the fourth economy:
• Technology: accelerating change; shifts in occupations, products and workplace environment; leveling locational advantages
• Energy: rising prices leading to rethinking lifestyles, and the housing blimp is refocusing priorities on real cost of housing
• Commurbanism (community urbanism): people again prefer to know their neighbors, people want amenities without traffic congestion or other undesirables, desire to give back, organize through social media.

Places that have a high ranking on the fourth economy index, like Clarke, Georgia and Woods, Ohio, have a university and are leveraging that opportunity by retain graduates with a diversified economy. They have quality K-12 education, blend rural with urban amenities through town centers and recreation, provide quality, reasonably priced options for housing, and are driven by educational and medical institutions. There are working relationships with the local college/university, partnerships with banks and VCs to offer small business credit and loans, and offer high value business support initiatives.

Previous Post:

Next Post: