Emerging Themes In State Rural Development: Findings and Questions

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Report summarizes data collected through four interrelated analytic strategies under the State Policy Program (SPP) at the Aspen Institute: (1) Field work, interviews, and analysis of materials in Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming, (2) Monitoring of five grantees that were supported by the SPP; third, assessment of the SPP program as an entity; (4) monitoring of the eight states involved in the federally created State Development Rural Councils.

The paper attempts to highlight major findings of completed work of SPP and suggest emerging themes. While ongoing, research points to several findings- an inability of current governance to deal with issues of rural development, self-defeating breadth of rural development policy leads to overwhelmed policymaking, competing ideas of ‘bottom-up’ vs ‘top-down’ approaches to navigating community/public/private involvement.

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