Urban & Regional Economies

The core of Mt. Auburn’s work over the last 30 years has been to develop strategies that help to build sustainable and strong regional economies. In addition to the strategic planning work, the firm has developed a methodology for identifying regional clusters, has designed strategies to strengthen these clusters, and has helped to organize and guide regional cluster organizations.

Economic Clusters

Mt. Auburn has integrated cluster analysis and development into all of its regional and local economic development planning efforts for 30 years. This work has provided us with expertise in a wide range of "clusters" - from such emerging industries as environmental technology, bioscience, advanced materials, telecommunications, software, fiber optics, and factory automation and robotics, to traditional industries such as food processing, tourism, furniture, and metalworking.

Our approach couples analysis of national and regional trends in markets and technology with in-depth assessment of the local cluster’s competitive strengths and weaknesses, including analysis of market position, local business environment, and availability of key local resources including capital, physical infrastructure, workforce, and research capacity. This forms the basis for developing detailed strategies for cluster retention and growth.

Here are some of the distinguishing characteristics of our approach to cluster analysis:

  • We recognize that data are critical but only tell part of the story. We place an emphasis on primary research to give us the most accurate information about the strengths, weaknesses, and challenges of any given economic cluster.
  • We help clients identify the clusters that provide a unique advantage to the region. Identifying and nurturing clusters requires a deep understanding of the local economic base and what drives it, since clusters can defy conventional industry definitions.
  • We are experts in the intersection of workforce sector strategies and economic cluster strategies.
New York City Technology Sector Analysis

Mt. Auburn completed a study of New York City’s technology sector for the New York Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation (ITAC). The study’s objective was to reframe the role of technology as a key economic development driver in New York’s economy. It looked broadly at the city’s technology sector—identifying the "embedded" activities found in the city’s many universities and research hospitals, as well as corporate R&D. In addition, the study looked at the thousands of self-employed individuals who make their living in the technology sector.

Innovation Strategy

Economic innovation – the process of transforming ideas into new or better products and services – is a sure path to increased productivity, higher incomes, and sustained economic growth. At the local and regional levels, the key to accelerating the pace of innovation lies in tapping the knowledge base of local academic and research institutions through partnerships with local industry. Mt. Auburn helps clients to develop and structure mechanisms to promote local technology transfer and commercialization and to create a more innovative and entrepreneurial environment.

Technology Transfer Initiative, Rome Laboratory, New York

For the Griffiss Redevelopment Planning Council, Mt. Auburn designed the New York State Enterprise Development Corporation (EDC), a state quasi-public corporation, to facilitate tech transfer and economic development linked to Rome Laboratory, the U.S. Air Force’s R&D center for information technology. The firm conducted a comprehensive review of eight technology thrusts of Rome Laboratory and assessed the effectiveness of the Lab's technology transfer and applications program. The EDC, which evolved into the Griffiss Institute for Information Assurance, a state center of excellence, continues to work with the Lab to promote technology transfer and enterprise development at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park and elsewhere in New York’s Mohawk Valley.

Evaluation of Heinz Endowments Investments in Technology Transfer and Commercialization

As part of a five-year evaluation of the economic development investments of The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, Mt. Auburn Associates completed an evaluation of the foundation’s role in building one of the strongest regional technology transfer and commercialization systems in the U.S. The evaluation included the foundation’s investments in developing technology commercialization activities at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.