The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group (CSG) just released its final report on “Rural Development Hubs” as effective community and economic development partners in rural America. As part of its research for Rural Development Hubs: Strengthening America’s Rural Innovation Infrastructure, Aspen CSG interviewed the Northern Forest Center and other members of the Rural Development Innovation group, which the Center helps lead.
The report focuses on the role of intermediaries “doing development differently” in rural America. Rural Development Hubs like the Center are key players in advancing an asset-based and inclusive wealth-building approach to rural community and economic development in this country.
The report’s recommendations are designed for investors, policymakers and other decision-makers working in or for rural America. The report summarizes how regional organizations support community and economic development, health and equity, and how development Hubs play a key role in fostering enterprise and community development in rural places.
“We know it takes multiple, holistic solutions to help rural communities achieve their goals for vibrant communities and strong economies,” said Center President Rob Riley, talking about the Center’s Community Revitalization work focused on Millinocket, Maine; Lancaster, New Hampshire; and the Maine West region of Bethel, Rumford, South Paris and Norway, Maine. “We start by listening to the community, engaging partners, and tailoring potential solutions to fit the needs of each place. Rather than offering just one solution, we fill gaps and bring innovative ideas and capital to foster vibrant rural communities."
Aspen CSG’s report on Rural Development Hubs, published with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is available online.