The Advantages of Economic Development in Rural Communities

Virtually all of the work that Building Communities has done over the past three years has been in rural communities–the vast majority in towns under 7,500 population. While job creation is especially challenging in rural communities, there is one intangible that can make a real positive difference: people know one another in rural communities which [...]

EDA on the Right Track with CEDS

For the past couple of years, the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been set to announce their new policy with respect to the work that Economic Development Districts do developing their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS).   These changes include: Emphasizing strategies, not just project lists Performing a SWOT analysis Establishing a “strategic direction” that [...]

It All Starts with Democracy

Over the past two years, we have been extensively involved with strategic planning in tribal communities. Our process begins with the assumption that communities operate in a governance structure that supports business development and investment in livable communities. Yet, for many American Indian communities, the very basic assumptions of sound governance and responsive government programs [...]

Expanding Into Plan Implementation

If you plan it, will they build? In other words, what happens after the plan is completed? Will it make a difference? At Building Communities, we find that the greatest factor moving forward relates to what we call Civic Condition–the underlying motivation of community leaders. We find that their are four predominant motivations:  Apathy, Argumentative, [...]

Why Some Communities Succeed and Why Some Fail

At Building Communities, we have now conducted almost 60 strategic planning processes in two years. We see differing levels of local capacity to implement plans. We see different key success factors necessary for communities to implement certain strategies (think agricultural commodities for a Value-added Agriculture strategy, for example.) We see different approaches to how communities [...]