"Lessons in New Ruralism" shares 20 case studies of prosperous rural communities from across the United States.

2 minute read

October 22, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT

By CHorose

Gilpin County, Colorado

RaksyBH / Shutterstock

The New Ruralism Initiative is pleased to share stories of rural leadership, place-making, entrepreneurship, energy-generation, art-creation, and volunteerism that sustain the heart and soul of rural places. In its newly released report, Lessons in New Ruralism, The New Ruralism Initiative celebrates the rural renaissance in the making with twenty case studies of successful local initiatives in a wide variety of areas such as local foods, housing, energy, new approaches to cooperatives, community services and more.

New Ruralism articulates that rural communities, to prosper, need a synchronized sustainability focus in three areas: economic, environmental, and social. To thrive, rural planning, policy, and grassroots efforts must embrace new methods of economic sustainability, like cooperatives and the creative economy. They must uphold environmental sustainability, both protecting the land while stewarding working landscapes. And, they must invest in social sustainability, fostering community, strengthening their safety net, and nurturing active democracy. The weaving of these ideas together contributes to strong rural communities.

The Lessons in New Ruralism report represents communities from Washington to Maine. Takeaways that emerged from the case studies include:

  • People-focused plans, policies, and projects have an outsized impact on small communities.
  • With the right ingenuity, small towns can build high-quality livable-wage jobs that anchor residents and contribute to a growth in the local economy.
  • To keep momentum going for long-term projects, organizations and groups must celebrate all the incremental wins along the way.
  • Frequent, timely, clear, and direct communication is vital to the success of projects.
  • Big changes in small communities often lead to a positive ripple effect.

Read the report for detailed case studies and additional insights.

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