Closing Keynote at MEDA Conference: Use Data to Build Attractive Cities

Matt Carmichael, Vice President of Journal Communications and editor of, one of the keynote speakers at the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) conference spoke to attendees about using data to build cities that attract people.

As reported on My Eastern Shore MD:

Carmichael spoke to the attendees about how to attract the best talent, particularly young talent, to their cities using marketing and planning that resonates with 20-somethings and millennials. To understand what draws young talent, Carmichael stressed the importance of using the wealth of data available.

Examples include data on income, housing, education, age, race, ethnicity, economy, consumer spending and more. He first pointed out that the “traditional” American family practically no longer exists.

“The number of married couples with children is fewer than one in five. Those households make up fewer than half of households. Babies are now more likely to be born nonwhite than white. They’re more likely to be born into nontraditional families than traditional ones,” he said. “We’re getting our driver’s licenses later; we’re getting married later; we’re having kids later; we’re buying homes and cars later.”

Carmichael said cities need to use this sort of data to improve their marketing message.

“You have to be out there telling your story because, if you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you,” he said.

Improving cities with data involves ensuring that public services such as transit, safety measures, parking and other such things are designed to be efficient and effective based on how people use them. One example of how to collect such data, Carmichael said, is by using an app like Foursquare, which people use to track their movements and share that information with friends.

With all of this in mind, Carmichael encouraged attendees to ask themselves if their cities had what they needed to attract their target demographic.

For more information read the full article on My Eastern Shore MD.