Bringing together students and community development projects that provide work experience and actionable solutions.

The Economic Development Studio @ Virginia Tech is a resource for communities throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. We conduct research on economic development issues, inform and empower decision-making, and provide technically sound recommendations for economic development strategy and action.

The Studio is a collaborative effort between Virginia Tech's Urban Affairs and Planning program and the Office of Economic Development. Maggie Cowell and John Provo are the faculty leading the studio effort. Graduate students work under faculty supervision on behalf of real-life clients and deliver actionable research projects. The students design and shape the implementation of the project, which typically provides a final sheltered work experience before they embark on their careers.

 

2012

Reshoring to Virginia: Understanding the total cost of ownership researched the economic impact and potential of returning manufacturing to several communities across Virginia, and developed strategies for these communities to maximize the economic benefits of the reshoring phenomenon.

2011

Building Connectivity Through Recreation Trails takes a closer look at the New River Trail State Park and the Virginia Creeper Trail to develop a 'how to' guide for trails looking to document their economic impact, and through cases studies in Damascus and Galax Virginia explores strategies to maximize the impact the trails have on those two communities.

2010

Economic Development Strategies for Small Defense Communities consists of two parallel studies exploring new avenues for maximizing opportunities at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RAAP) located in Montgomery and Pulaski Counties and the Dahlgren Naval Weapons Station in King George County.

2009

Sustainable Business Opportunities for Floyd, Virginia was prepared with grass-root community leaders in Floyd, a rural county off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the New River Valley. Building on the community's assets, interests, and real-world opportunities in the marketplace, the Studio constructed a business case for local sustainable enterprises.

2008

Bringing Open Innovation to Economic Development in Virginia applied the open innovation model to Virginia Tech's distributed research facilities in Arlington and in Danville The two reports assess the potential of these institutions to link with industry and other research organizations and developed recommendations for economic development practitioners.

2007

Alleghany Highlands Wood Products Labor Market Issues includes research and analysis on labor market issues in the Alleghany Highlands. The study was commissioned for the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission which was interested in exploring both needs of current industries and developing labor-based strategies for adding-value to those industry functions in the future.

2006

Farmshoring in Virginia: Strategies for Linking Urban and Rural Economies in Virginia examined domestic outsourcingopportunities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Studio made recommendations to state and local policymakers how they can take advantage of the emerging farmshoring/domestic outsourcing phenomenon. The project was funded by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and various local communities. The students received the 2007 Student Project Award of the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Have an idea for the Studio?  Contact John Provo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Maggie Cowell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 
 

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Floyd, Virginia

See how students helped green business ideas emerge in Floyd.