Date of Award


Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)


Planning and Landscape Architecture


Dr. Barry Nocks

Committee Member

Dr. James London

Committee Member

Dr. Terry Farris


As the effects of globalization become more apparent and regions continue to emerge as the functional unit of international economic competition, many areas have engaged in regional visioning processes in order to create more unified and large-scale approaches to economic development and other planning-related issues. Successful regional visioning processes and the initiatives that are spurred by them encourage strong involvement on the part of both the public and private sectors – business leaders, elected officials, government agencies, and residents. Successful regional efforts have engaged a wide variety of stakeholders to create a balanced process with a variety of resources.

Upstate Reality Check, a regional visioning exercise comprising 10 counties in the Upstate of South Carolina, was held on April 8, 2009. More than 370 participants worked together to create a variety of possible scenarios to accommodate the significant population growth that is expected in the Upstate in coming years. Now, as the next steps process begins to move forward, a newly formed organization known as Ten at the Top will work on a variety of projects and collaborative efforts in this region.

This paper developed recommendations for future economic development actions for the region using the input of a number of economic development leaders in the Upstate and four case studies of organizations that have addressed economic development from a regional perspective based on increased regional collaboration. The case studies included the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, Central Florida’s MyRegion, Envision Utah, and Vision North Texas. Recommendations for future action include: engage the business community; work closely with news media; convene a group of supportive elected officials; create a series of ‘regional conversations’; create a set of regional indicators; explore grants and funding opportunities; develop a sourcebook to assist public agencies; utilize existing networks; and identify potential partnerships.