One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is: How can rural areas best cope and thrive in the increasingly spiky creative economy?
New research by economists David McGranahan and Timothy Wojan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Dayton Lambert of the University of Tennessee provides some new and important insights. Their study, entitled “The Rural Growth Trifecta: Outdoor Amenities, Creative Class and Entrepreneurial Context,” published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Economic Geography looks closely at the economic forces that are acting on rural areas and the local assets these areas can use to most effectively respond to these forces and spur development and prosperity. Rural areas can no longer depend on manufacturing branch plants as a source of jobs and growth, but rather can work to bolster local amenities, spur entrepreneurship, and enable the creative class to generate jobs and growth. Their main conclusion is that amenities matter a lot to rural development. Here’s the abstract for the study: (more…)