Santa Fe is a historic and beautiful city with a long list of amenities that has made it one of the country’s top destinations. It is internationally distinguished for its rustic sophistication, classic ambiance, outdoor activities, numerous art galleries, and sacred traditions.

The City of Santa Fe hired AngelouEconomics in 2003 to develop an Economic Development Plan that would Cultivate Santa Fe. The Cultivate Santa Fe Plan focused on fostering a culture that creates higher paying jobs that complement Santa Fe’s unique character and ensures that new development retains Santa Fe’s essence of creativity, history, arts, and culture.

AE provided the City with an economic and demographic profile, SWOT Analysis, target industries, competitor benchmarking analysis, and an Economic Development Strategy containing recommendations for workforce, entrepreneurship, marketing and public relations, and community development. Some of the target industries recommended in the Cultivate Santa Fe Plan were Arts and Culture, Design, Hospitality, and Clean Energy and Water Conservation.

In October 2005, the City of Santa Fe celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Cultivate Santa Fe Economic Development Plan and the city’s accomplishments during the first year of implementation. During the first year, UNESCO named Santa Fe a Creative City for Folk Art Design, helping to further define Santa Fe’s status as a center for design and folk art. Santa Fe was the first city in North America and one of only first three cities in the world to receive this designation.

Other design initiatives launched by the City include Santa Fe Design Week and development of the Santa Fe Arts and Culture Web Portal, a single website that includes a reference center for workforce development and an online marketplace for arts and culture commerce ( Santa Fe Design Week received the Innovation in Implementation of an Economic Development Plan Award from the New Mexico Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) and is also nominated for a national APA Outstanding Planning Award for a Special Community Initiative. Finally, Creative Santa Fe, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization, was developed to serve as an umbrella organization to guide the development of cultural economic development for the Santa Fe region.

In September 2005, Santa Fe Community College unveiled plans for the Center for Community Sustainability. The Center aims to foster water and energy projects and the development of new technologies and comes from AngelouEconomics recommendation that Santa Fe become the water-conservation and clean-energy capital of the United States. One initial project for the Center will involve using biomass to heat buildings in the community-college district south of Santa Fe, while future projects could focus on gray-water systems.