Research Tells Communities Who They Are…And Who They Can Be

As with Shovel Ready work, now is an ideal time for proactive communities to take advantage of shifting tides and lay groundwork for future growth. Northspan’s array of research services supported by its Northland Connection program have us ready and able to help communities identify economic strengths and use data tools that most effectively tell their stories.

Our access to a wealth of economic and demographic data sets the stage for communities to map out their economic situation. Our work seeks not only to understand current and past reality based on the numbers, but to put it in regional and national context and use it to forecast where we may go in the future. Our overviews of strengths and weaknesses are more than mere recitations of data: they call out opportunities and threats and give concrete recommendations based on the evidence we see.

Minnesota Opportunity CollaborativeNorthspan’s analyses aren’t only descriptive; they can also be visual. Our ArcGIS Story Mapping capabilities provide an interactive platform for users to build out narratives filled with visuals and explore maps that highlight communities’ assets, and we’ve used to tool everywhere from each project listing on the Minnesota Opportunity Collaborative project directory to a prospectus for Burlington, Vermont. A recent site selector panel at the annual Utility Economic Development Association conference cited Story Maps as a valuable tool used by the most proactive communities seeking to move beyond static, lengthy PDFs or the limited timeframe of a video to engage prospects in a new, creative way.

Whether you’re looking for the background information to support an informed strategic plan or a community prospectus that highlights your local strengths, Northspan can help. Contact Karl Schuettler at