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Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities

Appendix B: Partnership for Sustainable Communities Charge to the Rural Work Group

August 2010

Rural America makes up about 16 percent of the country's population and covers 75 percent of the land area. Rural America includes towns and small cities, as well as working lands, farms, prairies, forests, and rangelands. Challenges in rural communities include a declining agriculture, natural resources economy, and the smaller scale manufacturing economy (especially in rural areas removed from metro-areas and natural amenities), farmland and natural-area land conversion in high amenity or areas adjacent to metro areas, and the lack of capacity and technical expertise to address these challenges. The Partnership's Livability Principles apply to rural, urban, and suburban communities alike. To rural communities and supporters of the interests of rural communities, the work of the Partnership and the benefits to rural America need to be made clear.

Work Group Charge:

  1. Create a concise framework describing how the Partnership's Livability Principles support rural communities across the country. The framework may address policy efforts of the Partnership and the member agencies as well as messaging and framing the work. One question that likely needs to be answered is "How do the Livability Principles increase economic opportunity and increase quality of life for all rural Americans."
  2. As a first step towards identifying important policy leverage points, describe current efforts in Partnership agencies (across the Administration?) that are focused on the built environment in rural communities. These could include programs, policies, rules, and statutes within in agencies and departments. Particular emphasis could be placed on economic development opportunities and existing policies, etc, that leverage other investments.
  3. Identify a set of case studies showing rural communities successfully using smart growth/sustainable community approaches to achieve better economic, environment, community, and public health outcomes.
  4. Identify stakeholder groups - locally in communities and nationally - NGOs, trade associations, and other groups that do work around the built environment in rural communities. Put forward a method for ensuring the variety of rural voices are heard in the context of the work of the Partnership.
  5. Propose an approach to outcome-based livability performance measures for rural communities / regions.
Updated: 4/3/2012
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