Many rural areas in the United States find themselves struggling to build local assets and create wealth, and, when this wealth is created, they often struggle to hold on it. Previous approaches to community and economic development have been inadequate in attempting to reverse these trends. Shifting to a new way of enabling economic development requires supporting innovative community leaders as they explore new ways of approaching the task at hand. It also requires thinking anew about the role of rural areas, based on valuing multiple forms of wealth – natural, social, and human. There is a real need for an approach that can help stem the potential loss of existing wealth, and attract new investment that will allow rural areas to become valued partners in regional economies.
This book provides an important insight into rural wealth creation as a sustainable economic development strategy. At the same time, a number of compelling issues are raised that merit future research effort and discussion. This book was originally published as a special issue of Community Development.