Using Industry & Human Capital to Build Sustainable Rural Communities
Author: Anna Read
This report defines asset-based economic development, and provides several case studies in which industry and industrial clusters, as well as human capital have benefited the economies of rural communities—retaining and creating jobs, and increasing income and the local tax base—while also enhancing the community’s quality of life and sense of place.
The report first features the city of Pella, Iowa, which has a strong public-private partnership that recruits and develops sectors and industries that are compatible with the community's economic strengths. The town regularly updates its comprehensive plans to maintain its heavy manufacturing, while allowing for future growth and developing its tourism industry. Other case studies include Prowers County and Lamar, Colorado, one of the richest areas for renewable energy potential in the country, as well as Philips County, Arkansas, where the community created strategic plans for their economic and housing development, education, leadership development, and healthcare. Community members worked in “goal teams” for each issue, and ended up leveraging together over $105 million. The report recommends engaging citizens in strategies that build on a community’s assets, in order to have successful implementation.
This is the first paper of a three-part series of briefing papers recently published by ICMA on Asset Asset-Based Economic Development and Building Sustainable Rural Communities.