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Rural Placemaking for Cultural Development and Economic Growth

Rural Placemaking for Cultural Development and Economic Growth

Cultural development is an important asset for continuous economic growth in your community. 

Part of cultural development should be establishing a plan for placemaking. At its most basic form, placemaking is the process of embracing and supporting arts, culture, and craftsmanship as important assets and economic drivers for your community. 

Placemaking is not just a strategy for large towns and cities. Rural communities often have a well of untapped creative resources within their population. Having to wear many different hats - as rural residents often do - encourages creativity. Many rural residents may be extremely talented artisans in a variety of unique media. Collecting information about these artists and artisans, and making space for them to operate and promote their work, drives economic growth.

Cultural tourism is a growing industry; promoting the unique work in your area is appealing to potential tourists. Rural communities can also be attractive for artisans who are looking for affordable places to live and run their art-based businesses. 

Assess Your Assets for Placemaking Success

Perhaps the most important part of cultural development planning is to identify your cultural assets and your community's capacity to develop opportunities around them.

Cultural mapping is the process of recording and organizing all the cultural events your community hosts, the historical and cultural assets in your area, local artisans, and venues that support arts and culture. Once you have all of these assets recorded and organized you can look for overlaps where you can encourage collaboration and growth. You can also identify areas of the community or times of the year that are quieter, and brainstorm ideas to fill these gaps. 

Your best resources for these brainstorming sessions are: 

  • Assess Your Assets for Placemaking SuccessCommunity Champions: those people who’ve lived locally forever, love the community and are super promoters.
  • Enthusiastic Newcomers: the new people who’ve fallen in love with the community and chosen it as their new home. 

Getting these people together to brainstorm can create unique and inspiring ideas. Both are super enthusiastic about the community but have very different perspectives. The insider knows all of the history and stories. The newcomer sees special features that insiders take for granted or have forgotten about.

Once you’ve identified the cultural assets that will drive economic growth, you can test which ideas will be the most successful, so you don’t waste taxpayer resources. Bundling MDB Insight’s tools can help you capitalize on your community's unique cultural features.

Top 3 Tools to Improve Community Satisfaction

  1. With the Citizen Satisfaction IQ™ survey you can assess whether or not your citizens are happy with current cultural services and resources. The report highlights what they think you should prioritize for development and improvement.

  2. Once you know what services citizens want to see improved or enhanced, our Triage BR+ETM can help you take stock of the assets you have and identify which assets need the most help to succeed and expand in the community.

  3. Once you’ve narrowed the list to “needs the most help” and “most important to taxpayers” you can survey citizens with the Tax Sensitivity Calculator™ and discover what placemaking and cultural development initiatives they’re willing to support. The calculator allows residents to choose options they want to support, and immediately see how supporting that initiative would affect their individual property taxes.

With support from MDB Insight’s experienced team , you can bundle these tools together to develop a solid strategic plan for driving economic growth through cultural development. Developing your arts and culture assets will build stronger community connections, make your community attractive to artisans, makers, creators, and tourists, and drive your economic growth.

Expand Your Community’s Capacity for Dynamic Economic Growth

Ensure Your Next BR+E Initiative Strengthens Your Local Economy Infographic


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