We need to try new approach to rural revitalization

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – If Pennsylvania’s rural communities are to stem the tide of fiscal distress and remain economically vibrant, a new, place-based approach to rural policy is needed, according to a new report prepared by researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Studies. “Despite a variety of state and federal initiatives to assist rural communities over the past several decades, many rural areas continue to struggle with economic, social and environmental decline,” said Theodore Alter, professor of agricultural, environmental and regional economics and co-author of the Penn State study.
“We have never developed a coherent, integrated rural-policy framework at the local, state and federal levels,” he said. “To enhance community and regional competitiveness, we must identify features that distinguish places from one another and harness these differences to foster sustained growth and development.”
Holistic. Such a place-based policy is more holistic than traditional strategies, Alter explains, focusing on the broad array of social, economic and environmental attributes that can be mobilized to improve quality of life.
“Place-based development emphasizes the need for municipalities to pool their resources and create a unique niche in the global economy,” he said.
Among the report’s conclusions:

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