Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities
Conclusion and Next Steps for the Partnership
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities will continue working to ensure that its policies, programs, and investments support rural communities that are economically resilient, provide good quality of life for residents, and have healthy environments. To strengthen federal support of rural communities and use Partnership resources efficiently, HUD, DOT, EPA, and USDA will consider the following next steps.
Short Term (3-6 months)
- Form a Rural Implementation Group made up of staff from the four agencies to implement the steps identified in this report.
- Create a Leveraging the Partnership for Rural Communities guide, modeled on the Leveraging the Partnership document, describing funding and technical assistance programs available to rural communities from each of the four agencies.
- Facilitate collaboration between Rural Development state staff and Partnership regional teams on ongoing HUD, DOT, EPA, and USDA projects with rural components.
- Determine the potential for philanthropic resources to help build rural capacity for strategic planning and implementation of specific projects.
- Explore the feasibility of a capacity-building workshop on sustainable communities strategies for rural grantees of HUD's Regional Planning Grant program.
- Conduct outreach to rural stakeholders on the Partnership's activities.
Medium Term (6-12 months)
- Post online case studies on rural communities that have used smart growth and sustainable communities approaches to achieve job growth, resource protection, and housing and community facility improvements.
- As follow-up to the Rural Roundtable held by the Rural Work Group in August 2010, conduct additional listening sessions with agency leadership and stakeholder groups.
- Collaborate with USDA Economic Research Service to identify how its online Rural Atlas can become an effective information tool for current and future Partnership grantees.
- Engage in collaborative technical assistance and/or grant implementation.
- Consider ways to streamline and improve grant processes so that rural communities can access federal resources more easily.
- Address capacity issues related to grant writing and planning capacity in rural communities.
- Identify regional collaboration opportunities that will help the four agencies assess how well their programs work together.
- Prepare guidelines for planning effective transit programs in rural areas.
- Support rural sessions and networking at the 2012 New Partners for Smart Growth conference.
Longer Term (12-18 months)
- Continue to incorporate the Livability Principles, as appropriate, into rural-focused community and economic development Notices of Funding Availability and grant applications.
- Evaluate the impacts of the Partnership's rural efforts through performance measurement.
- Deliver Partnership resources to rural communities through training and technical assistance.
- Explore how the Partnership can help support scenario planning workshops in rural areas.