Skip to main content

The Northwest Arkansas Council today announced an effort to develop a community-led regional growth strategy.

Over the past two decades, Northwest Arkansas leaders pursued a successful economic development strategy that helped catapult the region into national rankings for job growth and quality of life. But the fruits of that success created new challenges as a rapidly rising population contributed to a considerable increase in the region’s affordable cost of living.

With exponential growth expected to continue, the Council is collaborating with leaders across the region to develop an intentional strategy to address these growth challenges while also preserving and enhancing all the things residents love about Northwest Arkansas.

To help inform the strategy, the Council seeks public input to help define the region’s future priorities.

“Understanding the public’s sentiment is critical to determining how to prioritize growth,” said Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “Our goal is to foster collaboration across the region to create a vibrant and equitable growth strategy that builds on the unique character and quality of life that has shaped the region’s economic development success.”

The research will be conducted by nationally-renowned firms McLarty Consulting and Selzer & Company and include a phone and online survey, focus groups and interviews with local leaders.

Through this process, the Council seeks to get a better understanding of how the region is growing, how it will grow in the future and provide actionable priorities that can complement or bolster existing city, county and state plans.

Questions will probe residents’ opinions on the region’s quality of life, job opportunities, housing, public transit, downtowns, drinking water, recycling, outdoor recreation, traffic congestion, health care, green space, diversity, taxes, schools and public safety.

McLarty Consulting has been a prominent influence on public sentiment in Arkansas for nearly two decades. Its expertise extends across a wide spectrum of issue advocacy initiatives throughout the state, encompassing numerous statewide campaigns.

Selzer & Company is a nationally-recognized pollster best known for directing the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll. Her track record for that poll and public polling nationally and in other states resulted in her winning one of a handful of A+ ratings from a pollster ranking of over 350 polling firms on FiveThirtyEight.

“McLarty Consulting and Selzer & Company have both worked with the Northwest Arkansas Council for the past several years for public opinion projects related to quality of life and housing affordability,” Peacock adds. “Both firms have an excellent track record for gathering accurate and reliable information, and the Council looks forward to continuing our work with the community to define an actionable regional strategy.”

Key findings will be released in the spring.

For more information on this effort or to provide additional feedback, residents can email

Special thanks to our major investors for their support of the Northwest Arkansas Council and our work in the region: