Monthly Archives: August 2014

Back to School

First day of the public school year in Texas! A quick video about a walkable school district in Cleveland, Ohio. I love that they talk about not just the health and mental benefits of walking, but the sense of community for kids and parents. Even in suburbs and rural areas where we aren’t going to walk to school, that sense of community is so important. Our schools play an important role in the social fabric of our communities.  

The Role of Rural: The Energy Economy

I’ve written before about The Role of Rural in addressing the world’s wicked problems—challenges including providing food, water, and energy for 9 billion people by 2050: climate change; health; and poverty. These challenges are serious, but they provide opportunities for rural areas. The Texas energy economy has grown substantially in recent years, and is a major part of the Texas economic narrative. Of course, oil has long been been a part of the Texas story and an important component of the economy. After 30 years of falling production,… Read More →

Where did we come from? Where did we go?

A New York Times infographic takes a look at how Americans have moved between states since 1900.

Webinar: How Design Sparks Rural Development

This webinar from Community Matters discusses using good design to improve rural places and kick-start rural development. I love that they are talking about resident-led design, introducing local decision makers to design principles, and describing how to incorporate “experts” and outsiders into projects. Ultimately, it is the resident community and it should be their project! I’m looking forward to the webinar Wednesday, August 20, at 3:00 Central. For more info or to register, visit You can also check out this Community Matters blog post to learn more… Read More →

The Role of Rural: Healthcare

“Those who go to urban hospitals have been described as ‘bypassing’ rural hospitals,” according to a July 2014 report by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The report by M.J. Hall and M.F. Owings, based on findings from the CDC’s National Hospital Discharge Survey, indicates that 40% of rural (non-metro) residents who were hospitalized in 2010 went to urban hospitals while 60% were admitted to rural hospitals. An April 2014 report by the same authors noted that while 17% of the U.S. population lived in nonmetro areas,… Read More →

The Rural Student Brain Gain

An article from The Daily Yonder about Brain Gain–yep, you read that right. Among the findings, community involvement, along with economic opportunity, is key to the desire to stay. Some really great comments from Extension educators in the Northern Plains as well.  

Is Urban Growth Good for Rural Communities?

Artz, Kim and Orazem published an article in Iowa State University’s CARD Agricultural Policy Review this spring looking at why Iowa’s rural population was holding relatively steady as compared to neighboring Nebraska. The authors reasoned that Iowa maintained a larger rural population because it had more nine metropolitan areas spread across the state while Nebraska had four metro areas clustered in the far eastern part of the state. You’re wondering how many metro areas are in Texas, and the answer is 25, along with 44 micropolitan areas (urban… Read More →

The Role of Rural: In the Local Foods Movement

Rural areas play an important role in urban food systems and urban economies. Recently, I’ve seen two stories on local foods that follow a fairly narrow definition of “local”. Both stories are cool pieces with some good info and ideas, and they give us an opportunity to think about rural/urban linkages and regionalism. KENS5 out of San Antonio posted a USA TODAY graphic on what constitutes “local” foods. The graphic, which was developed from USDA and various farmers market sources, asks How Local is Local? Takepart’s Willy Blackmore… Read More →

10 Commandments of Community Leadership

On a Throwback Thursday, with the blog having just moved to a new address, here’s a throwback to a series on the Ten Commandments of Community Leadership by Maury Forman and Michelle Harvey. This was a 10-part series this past spring. Links to the posts at the old blog site are below. Watch for a new series on rural wealth in September. 1. Thou shalt create a vision for the future. 2. Thou shalt develop a strategic plan. 3. Thou shalt build a sustainable economy for the next… Read More →

Strengthening Rural-Urban Connections to Support Competitive Regions

On July 24, the NADO Research Foundation hosted the webinar, “Strengthening Rural-Urban Connections to Support Competitive Regions.”  Though geography, politics, and demographics often result in “rural” and “urban” communities being thought of as distinct and unrelated places, current economic and social realities reveal that an effective framework for understanding urban and rural is through a prism of interdependence and linkages.  Economic and workforce development, food production and distribution, energy, transportation, recreation, and other sectors demonstrate that regionalism can strengthen outcomes for residents and businesses in both cities and small… Read More →