Category: Economic Development

Resource Category Topic Type
A Demographic and Economic Profile of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin
In this brief, we present a demographic and economic profile of Duluth, MN, and Superior, WI, with a specific focus on families with children. The cities, situated at the western point of Lake Superior (see Figure 1), share a rich economic history as major ports for coal, iron ore, and grain. Each city is also home to numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Demography, Vulnerable Families Research Program Demography, Economic Development, Poverty Publication
Beliefs about Development Versus Environmental Tradeoffs in the Puget Sound Region
Using data from a phone survey of 1,980 Puget Sound residents conducted in 2012, this fact sheet outlines residents’ views about the importance of environmental protection as well as their opinions about energy development, protection of wild salmon, and land use regulation.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community Development, Economic Development, Environment, Public Opinion Publication
Biofueling Rural Development: Making the Case for Linking Biofuel Production to Rural Revitalization
Biofuels play a crucial role in America's quest for oil independence. In recent years, the biofuel industry has seen significant technology and efficiency advances, as well as expansions in the materials that can be used to create biofuels. Grains and oilseeds are limited in their ability to meet fuel needs, but a shift to biomass feedstocks offers better production possibilities. For rural communities, locally owned biomass refineries may offer promise of new investment, job growth, and revitalization.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Economic Development, Environment, Infrastructure, Rural Publication
Capital Markets, CDFIs, and Organizational Credit Risk
Can Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) get unlimited amounts of low cost, unsecured, short- and long-term funding from the capital markets based on their organizational credit risk? Can they get pricing, flexibility, and procedural parity with for-profit corporations of equivalent credit risk?
Center for Impact Finance Community Development Finance, Economic Development Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Local Owners Driving Lasting Solutions
As outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, there is an urgent need for mechanisms that effectively scale proven interventions for tackling some of humanity’s toughest challenges (United Nations 2015). While there are exemplary models that have proven to be highly effective, there are relatively few examples that have achieved large-scale replication.
Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise Community Development, Economic Development, Employment, Entrepreneurship Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Meeting Farmers Where They Are
This case study provides an overview of Ziweto Enterprises, a social venture using franchising methodology to scale its growth. The goal of this study is to present a clear picture of how the starting stages of a social franchise can expand and thrive in a developing country such as Malawi. By discussing Ziweto’s history, business model, operations, challenges, successes, decision-making process, social impact, and projected future, this case study aims to provide insight into the application of business format franchising to address social problems.
Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise Community Development, Economic Development, Employment, Entrepreneurship Publication
Challenge and Hope in the North Country
Hit hard by the national decline in natural-resource and manufacturing jobs, North Country communities in northern New Hampshire and bordering areas of Maine and Vermont (Figure 1) continue to face challenges in restructuring their economies.1 A 2008 study classified Coös County, New Hampshire, and Oxford County, Maine, as “amenity/decline” regions, a common pattern in rural America where historically resource-dependent places experience decline in their traditional industries, even while natural amenities present new opportunities for growth in areas such as tourism or amenity-based in-migration. Complicating this transition, there is often out-migration of young adults seeking jobs and financial stability elsewhere, as new industries in rural areas tend toward seasonal employment or require different kinds of skills.2 In this brief, we report on a 2017 survey that asked North Country residents about their perceptions, hopes, and concerns regarding this region. Many of the same questions had been asked on earlier surveys in 2007 and 2010, providing a unique comparative perspective on what has changed or stayed much the same.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Community, Economic Development, Migration, New Hampshire, Public Opinion, Rural, Unemployment Publication
Continuity and Change in Coos County Results from the 2010 North Country CERA Survey
This brief from Chris Colocousis and Justin Young uses the most recent North Country CERA survey to focus on change and continuity in Coos County between 2007 and 2010, and then makes comparisons of the present conditions across the three study counties. The authors examine such topics as community problems, environmental and economic concerns, and community cohesion and confidence in the local government. They report that Coos County residents remain highly concerned about the lack of economic opportunities in the region, and their concern about population decline has increased in recent years. Coos residents see the economic future of their communities primarily tied to both recreation and traditional forest-based industries, though they have become somewhat more polarized with respect to levels of support for economic development versus environmental protection. The authors conclude that challenges stemming from the economic restructuring of the past decade have been deepened by the most recent recession, and issues of limited economic opportunities, financial hardship, and population decline have become more pronounced. As the North Country moves into the future, one of its primary challenges will be working out a balance between what can sometimes be conflicting demands on the region’s substantial natural resources.
New Hampshire Community, Economic Development, Environment, New Hampshire, Public Opinion Publication
Experience of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund in Mainstreaming of Acquisition Loans to Cooperative Manufactured Housing Communities, The
This study aimed to provide evidence of the extent to which a financial product―land acquisition loans for manufactured home parks―performed well and was adopted by mainstream financial institutions. The study hypothesized that The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s effective introduction of the new loan product, coupled with excellent loan performance, led banks to adopt the loan product.
Evaluation, New Hampshire Economic Development, Housing, New Hampshire Publication
Forging the Future: Community Leadership and Economic Change in Coös County, New Hampshire
Author Michele Dillon conducted a case study of community change in Coös County, New Hampshire, for two-and-a-half years (June 2009-December 2011) to investigate how local community leaders in Coös assess the initiatives, challenges, opportunities, and progress in the North Country during this time of economic transition.
New Hampshire Civic Engagement, Community, Economic Development, Leadership, New Hampshire Publication
Jobs, Natural Resources, and Community Resilience: A Survey of Southeast Alaskans about Social and Environmental Change
As part of the Community and Environment in Rural America (CERA) project, researchers at the Carsey Institute surveyed 1,541 residents of the ten boroughs and unincorporated census areas in Southeast Alaska to better understand social and environmental change in the region and their implications for Alaskan community and families. The authors of this brief report that social problems in the extremely isolated region of Southeast Alaska such as crime and drug use are closely related to economic distress, particularly in small outlying communities. They suggest that economic development interventions should be paired with social assistance to address these interrelated problems. Natural resource industries are highly valued, and supporting sustainable expansion of these industries will be critical in the future. Residents highly value the natural and cultural character of the region. Southeast Alaska’s natural assets and strong social capital suggest that residents can collaborate to address social and environmental concerns. Trust and confidence in government is low. However, increasing local engagement may help bridge this divide and encourage public-private partnerships and more cooperative relationships. With its rising energy costs and limited access to high-quality foods, national programs that increase access to affordable energy and quality foods should focus on this region. Significant economic and social challenges can make life in Southeast Alaska a challenge, yet residents remain resilient and optimistic about the future of their communities.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community, Economic Development, Environment, Public Opinion Publication
Maximizing Returns to Colleges and Communities
Colleges and universities depend tremendously on their local communities in numerous ways, and through community investment, have a unique opportunity to support these communities in turn. This handbook provides an overview of community investment, including a step-by-step guide to implementing a community investment program that maximizes both financial and social returns.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Economic Development, Education Publication
Measures and Methods: Four Tenets for Rural Economic Development in the New Economy
Rural communities working to find strategies for success in today's economy need to rethink the tools they are using. Brown-Graham is the executive director of the Institute for Emerging Issues and a policy fellow at the Carsey Institute. William Lambe is the associate director at the Community and Economic Development Program at the School of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community, Community Development, Economic Development, Rural Publication
New Immigrant Settlements in Rural America: Problems, Prospects, and Policies
Regions of rural America are being reshaped by growing numbers of immigrants who are choosing small-town life over the bright lights of the big city. This study found that immigrant settlers may have a big impact on small, rural communities—sometimes straining resources but also offering promise for reinvigorating dying communities.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Economic Development, Immigration, Rural Publication
Resident Ownership in New Hampshire's "Mobile Home Parks": A Report on Economic Outcomes (revised 2010)
Since 1984, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund has been helping residents of manufactured home communities purchase the land underneath their homes. Since then, homeowners have purchased 80 manufactured home communities and converted them into Resident Owned Communities (ROCs) in New Hampshire. These communities now include 4,200 homeowners.
Evaluation, New Hampshire Economic Development, Housing, New Hampshire Publication
Rural America in the 21st Century: Perspectives from the Field (Report to the Rural Assembly)
Rural America in the twenty-first century must develop new relationships and new ways of doing things to ensure an economically prosperous, socially just, and environmentally healthy future. Tapping into the resourcefulness and creativity of rural people will be essential in addressing this challenge. However, they cannot do it alone. Rural communities need critical infrastructure, investment, capital, and services. The overlapping forces shaping rural America–demographic transitions, economic changes, the legacy of chronic underinvestment in community institutions, and environmental factors—present challenges and opportunities. With the voices and strategies of rural Americans in hand, the National Rural Assembly can now move forward toward this vision for a twenty-first century rural America.
Demography, Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Demography, Economic Development, Environment, Rural Publication
Southeastern Kentuckians Remain Optimistic Through Great Recession: Growing Concerns about Sprawl, Housing, and Recreational Opportunities
In May and June of 2007, Carsey Institute researchers surveyed 1,000 randomly selected respondents from Kentucky’s Harlan and Letcher counties, and between November 2010 and January 2011, they returned to survey 1,020 different randomly selected respondents from the same counties. These two Kentucky counties provide a snapshot of perceptions of community and environmental change in a chronically poor rural place. This brief focuses on the questions asked in both surveys to identify area wide (Harlan and Letcher counties combined) changes since the Great Recession. The surveys reveal that the recession has exacerbated concern about many community-level problems including poverty, affordable housing, sprawl, and a lack of recreational opportunities. Southeastern Kentuckians’ views regarding how environmental resources should be used have also changed. As the demand for jobs has increased, Harlan and Letcher county residents are more likely to believe that natural resources should be used for economic development rather than conserved for the future. Optimism about the future is unchanged despite growing financial instability during the recession. Author Jessica Ulrich concludes that as local, state, and federal government program budgets are cut, and poverty and unemployment rates rise, southeastern Kentuckians will need to increasingly rely on the support of other community members. She adds, “If communities keep faith that they can work together to solve pressing problems and obtain the social, human, and economic resources that they desperately need, then perhaps Harlan and Letcher counties can begin to escape from the persistent poverty that has been plaguing them for decades.”
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Economic Development, Housing, Poverty, Public Opinion Publication
Stretching Ties: Social Capital in the Rebranding of Coös County, New Hampshire
Place rebranding is gaining in popularity as cities and rural communities alike attempt to expand their revenue streams through innovative marketing strategies that seek to revitalize or create tourism destinations. These efforts tend to come about as part of an economic development strategy pursued by communities that have borne steep economic losses resulting from global economic restructuring and the decline in traditional manufacturing, agriculture, and natural-resource extraction. Author Michele Dillon explores the role of social capital in rural wealth generation by focusing on how it was used to advance place rebranding in Coös County in northern New Hampshire. In Coös, as is also likely the case in other rural counties, there is a far greater number of local than regional institutions and organizations, and culturally, leaders and residents alike are more prone to think locally than regionally. Nonetheless, these local community organizations can still play an important role in regionalization efforts; their infrastructural resources (including leaders and others with a history of working together on local issues) can be strategically incorporated as in Coös to forge and strengthen regionalized bridging connections. Her case study indicates that local community social capital can be expanded and stretched to achieve inter-community, county-wide regional cooperation. In particular, the Coös Branding Project, which she examines at length, illustrates the productive value of bridging social capital in rural economic development. As Coös moves forward and continues to develop its tourism sector, ongoing community support and inter-community cooperation will be crucial to translating its newly branded place identity into a place that will attract tourism and further investment.
New Hampshire Community Development, Economic Development, New Hampshire Publication
The Local Agricultural Community Exchange: Outcomes and Lessons Learned from a Public-Private Initiative to Revitalize a Downtown Community
This brief describes a revitalization project in Barre, Vermont, led by a public-private partnership involving the Agricultural Community Exchange, the Central Vermont Community Action Council, and the private businesses that operated out of the storefront.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community, Economic Development, New England Publication
The State of Coös County: Local Perspectives on Community and Change
Coös County residents are largely optimistic about their future despite significant economic challenges, especially in the Berlin/Gorham area. As part of a three-pronged effort to understand the ongoing changes in New Hampshire's North Country and surrounding counties, researchers at the Carsey Institute have surveyed more than 1,700 adult residents of Coös County, New Hampshire, and Oxford County, Maine.
New Hampshire Community, Community Development, Coös Youth Study, Economic Development, New Hampshire, Public Opinion Publication