Communities use many different tools to analyze conditions and help set priorities. Alongside other key tools, the Thrive Rural Framework provides a way to take stock of conditions in your community. It can help potential partners bridge key day-to-day issue areas, such as housing, employment, education, and economic development, to understand local conditions and broader systems that can support thriving rural families and communities.
These tools can help you identify where to focus to advance rural prosperity for all in your region, role, or system. The framework can be embedded in local, regional, state, or national planning and strategy processes and used to anchor conversations about priorities.
COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT TOOLS
Communities use many different tools to analyze conditions and help set priorities. Some of these may be familiar to you. You can build on community assessment work that you have already done or conduct new assessments to gain a deeper understanding of your community. When conducting community assessments, remember to consider who participates in the assessment and whose voice may not be represented.
- Asset mapping — BHPN mapping tools
- Aspen CSG community capacity assessment tool
- Community health assessment
- The community health needs assessment provision of the Affordable Care Act (Section 9007) links hospitals’ tax-exempt status to the development of a triennial needs assessment and implementation strategy.
- Principles to Consider for the Implementation of a Community Health Needs Assessment Process
- Community needs assessments
- Readiness assessments
- The Assessment for Advancing Community Transformation (AACT) tool was designed to help individuals and teams understand how far along the group is in its journey toward health transformation and what areas can be strengthened to help go further. Unlike other assessments, AACT is community-driven and -directed. No outside support is needed to use the tool or interpret results.
- Center on Rural Innovation: The RII Community Toolkit provides basic readiness assessment, asset mapping, strategy templates, and action planning documents.
EXISTING LOCAL AND REGIONAL PLANNING PROCESSES
You can use the Thrive Rural framework alongside existing community planning processes. These existing community planning processes are also typically a good source of data for the Gauge Progress framework phase. When conducting new or using existing planning processes, consider who is involved and the processes used for creating the plan. Are all community members able to engage and contribute?
Existing community planning process examples:
- Comprehensive plans
- “A comprehensive plan is a local government’s guide to community physical, social, and economic development. Comprehensive plans are not meant to serve as land use regulations in themselves; instead, they provide a rational basis for local land use decisions with a twenty-year vision for future planning and community decisions.”
- Community health improvement plans
- Economic development plans
- Rural transportation plans
ROOT CAUSE AND ISSUE ANALYSIS
Analyzing root causes and priority issues can help elicit additional helpful information to target action. Consider gathering varying perspectives on your root cause and issue analyses to ensure your findings represent the breadth of experience in your community.
- Root cause and issue analysis:
- CHR&R Action Learning Guide — Understand and Identify Root Causes of Inequities
- The Community Toolbox — Analyzing Root Causes – the ‘But Why’ Technique
- “Root causes are the basic reasons behind the problem or issue you see in the community. Trying to figure out why the problem has developed is an essential part of the “problem-solving process” to guarantee the right responses and also to help citizens “own” the problems.”
The Thrive Rural Framework can be used alongside other frameworks to consider rural prosperity.
- Using the WealthWorks framework, economic and community development practitioners can better identify, assess and deploy their existing wealth over time. And they can gauge how their development efforts help the useful stocks of each of their eight capitals either grow or diminish in the region.
- The eight capitals: intellectual, financial, natural, cultural, built, political, individual, and social.
- OECD Rural Well-Being Geography of Opportunity
- WHO SDOH
- Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative – BARHII