Recent Resources

    Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit

    The Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit Booklet is a resource for communities to learn about Agricultural Urbanism and the tactics used to develop local food systems.

    Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning, Zoning, and Development Codes

    Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning, Zoning, and Development Codes (2012) provides policy options that can help rural communities strengthen their economies while preserving rural character.

    How Small Towns and Cities Can Use Local Assets to Rebuild Their Economies

    Over time, all communities experience changes that affect the industries, technologies, and land use patterns that help form the foundation of their local economies. Economically resilient towns, cities, and regions adapt to changing conditions and even reinvent their economic bases if necessary. Even if the community has lost its original or main economic driver, it has other assets that it can use to spur the local economy. While most economic development strategies involve some effort to recruit major employers, such as manufacturers or large retailers, many successful small towns and cities complement recruitment by emphasizing their existing assets and distinctive resources.

  • Responsible Tourism: How To Preserve the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg.

    Tourism is a major American industry. Americans spend over 800 billion a year on travel and recreation away from home. Tourism provides communities with numerous benefits including, new jobs, expanded tax base, improved facilities, and an expanded market for local products. However, if not planned for adequately, tourism can exacerbate crowding, traffic congestion, and increased crime, and haphazard development. This resource article provides strategies needed to maximize the benefits of tourism, while minimizing the burdens.

  • Building a Creative Rural Economy

    Most discussion related to creativity and culture as new economic drivers on large urban centres. Yet, these ideas have powerful potential in smaller towns and rural areas. Municipalities large and small are turning to municipal cultural planning as a tool for building local economies through creativity, culture, and quality of place. This article examines the experience of one rural area that provides insights and inspiraion for other rural municipalities.

  • Asset Mapping Roadmap: A Guide to Assessing Regional Development Resources

    Asset Mapping Roadmap tool designed to help regional leaders support innovation-based growth. The tool was developed with the support of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the U.S. Department of Labor. The guide is focused on helping regions build strategies that align education, workforce development and economic development programs. 

  • National Endowment for Humanities: Reaching Rural Communities

    This report highlights six NEH-funded projects designed to support rural American communities through the humanities. The projects featured in this report demonstrate the diversity of the agency’s work and the many strategies for engaging rural communities throughout the country. These projects are just a few examples of how NEH funding fuels innovation, increases communication, and strengthens communities. They also represent the NEH’s commitment to documenting the American experience through the rich stories of rural populations. Some initiatives, like the North Dakota Digital Newspaper Project, use advanced archiving technology and digitization to preserve historical information while others, like A New Harvest, use history to engage Americans in a dialogue about the future of rural America.

  • Resource Guide for Rural Planning and Design

    The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™'s Resource Guide for Rural Planning and Design is a list of organizations in the fields of  planning, housing, land use and natural resources, design, historic preservation, rural development, and funding that provide resources to communities for projects addressing development, design, and planning. 

    Glossary of Planning & Design Terms

    The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™  has assembled a list of planning and design terms to help  community members understand the terms used in design charrettes by architects, planners, and designers. This glossary is helpful not only for participants at a workshop or charrette, but also forunderstanding the vocabulary used by the design field.  

  • Artists and Manufacturers Strengthening Place

    In response to steep, post-recession job losses and decreases in state funding for the arts in rural communities, Art-Force explored how connecting artists with manufacturing firms in rural communities can create both alternative sources of income for artists and revenue for manufacturers in rural communities. This report demonstrates how alternative strategies for economic development that involve artists can create an “artistic and commercial connection to place, reaffirming the community’s authentic identity.”