Local leaders feel the time is right to take advantage of opportunities and address challenges through a clear vision and plan for Iowa’s capital region.

Capital Crossroads builds on the region’s strengths and provides a road map to capitalize on opportunities. The focus is on ideas and energy to ensure our region grows and prospers for current and future generations. Eight organizations joined together to sponsor the planning process. Fifty members of the Capital Crossroads Steering Committee invited public input on ways to improve the Central Iowa region, covering a 50-mile radius from the State Capitol. More than 5,000 local voices contributed to the process via one-on-one interviews, focus groups and online surveys. Research was conducted to assess the area’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. The Steering Committee then evaluated and prioritized ideas and developed ten areas of focus. Ten Capital plans were developed to elevate our region. Each of the ten plans impacts growth in its area of focus and on an integrated basis.

Implementation workgroups will guide refinement and action plans for each capital. See our News & Events to learn how you can get involved.


The process of determining a vision for the Capital Crossroads region began with comprehensive, objective analysis of the key trends, strengths, challenges, threats, and opportunities facing Greater Des Moines and Central Iowa as it looks to develop jobs and talent in the most competitive economy this nation has ever experienced.

This process began with a brief Economic and Demographic Snapshot inclusive of key indicators affecting the region’s population and economy. The Community Capacity Assessment then compared Greater Des Moines and Central Iowa against the regions of Omaha, Neb., Madison, Wis., and Denver, Colo., to determine how the Des Moines metro area stacks up.

Industry Clusters

The Target Cluster and Marketing Analysis identified key business sectors for which Des Moines and Central Iowa are most competitive, in addition to assessing the ways in which the region markets itself to the nation and world. While the region’s marketing efforts are strong, they could be better focused on target sector opportunities and more data-intensive related website content.

Recommended sectors

  • Finance & Insurance

  • Information Solutions

  • Health & Wellness

  • Agribusiness

  • Manufacturing

  • Logistics


In the trails and wellness capital of the world, you’ll find big city opportunity in a place where you can breathe.

Where a thriving and robust economy equals greater prosperity and vibrant, safe, diverse neighborhoods. Where talented, hard-working people collaborate to build successful businesses, including a renowned bio-science corridor, and a rich and accessible cultural community. Where we honor our heritage of education and stewardship of natural resources in a clean and sustainable environment.

Guiding Principles

Talent drives success
  • Career-focused education and training pipelines
  • Leadership, diversity and civility
  • “Quality of place” that retains and attracts top talent
Capture opportunities
  • Target sectors developed through holistic strategies
  • Wellness as an economic model with social benefit
  • I-35 Corridor development
Sustainable growth
  • Central Iowa is only as strong as its core
  • Competitive infrastructure and natural resources protected and enhanced for future generations
vision guiding principles