1st Edition

Rural Areas in Transition Meeting Challenges & Making Opportunities

Edited By Norman Walzer, Christopher Merrett Copyright 2023
    300 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    300 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores new opportunities to reshape local economies in rural areas during the next decade by exploring successful efforts already underway.

    While reported population declines can paint a bleak picture for rural areas, a different story can be told in looking at the numbers of households, employment, and housing markets. In fact, many rural areas have had steady employment and healthy housing markets. Rural attractions often include proximity to natural recreation areas, personal safety, social interaction, less expensive housing, and high-quality education. This book shows that rural areas are in a major long-term transition and that local leaders who take advantage of these opportunities in their community and economic development strategies can create a very positive future for residents.

    Students and policymakers in local economic development, sociology of population change, business finance, political economy, and geography will find this a useful resource.

    1. Rural Areas: Concerns and Potential

    Norman Walzer & Christopher Merrett

    2. Regional Economic Trends Across the Rural-Urban Divide 

    Steven Deller & Tessa Conroy

    3. Rural America Can Have a Prosperous Future

    Donald W. Macke

    4. Rural Federal Policy in Transition

    Tony Pipa & Natalie Geismar

    5. Economic Contributions of Hospitals to Rural Areas: Are They Necessary?

    Ernest Goss & Taylr Bahr

    6. The Role of Rural Nonprofits: Innovation, Opportunities, & Threats

    Jayme Walters

    7. Social Enterprises as a Revitalization Strategy for Rural Communities

    Peter Musinguzi, Nicolette Larder, & Derek Baker

    8. Building a Rural Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

    Kimber Lanning

    9. Rewriting the Rural Narrative

    Ryan Allen & Ben Winchester

    10. Towards Citizens’ Enablement: Examples of Academics Empowering Resident to Cost

    Effectively Solve Community Issues

    James Powell

    11. Transitioning Businesses to the Next Generation in New Ways

    Jennifer Hawkins, Norman Walzer, & John Bennett

    12. Acquiring, Building, and Investing in Private Businesses: A New Approach

    Dawn McGee, Michael Braun, & Kiah Hochstetler

    13. Opportunities in Rural Areas: What have We Learned?

    Norman Walzer & Chris Merrett


    Norman Walzer, Ph.D., is a Professor of Economics Emeritus at Western Illinois University where he founded the statewide Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) in 1989 and retired as director in 2005. He has served as president of the Community Development Society, the Midwest Section of the Regional Science Association, and has held leadership positions in other professional organizations. He has published extensively with 27 authored, coauthored, or edited books and numerous articles on Collective Impact, local public finance, community and economic development, strategic planning, community-owned businesses, and related issues. He co-edits Local Development and Society, an international community and economic development journal and is on the Editorial Board of Community Development.

    Christopher D. Merrett, Ph.D., is the Dean for Innovation and Economic Development, Director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, and Program Chair for the master’s degree in Community and Economic Development at Western Illinois University. His research focus is on regional development, social justice, and cooperatives as they relate to community development. He co-edited (with Norman Walzer) two books on this topic and he has also published on these issues in a wide range of academic and policy outlets.

    "The best days for rural America lie ahead. That’s the encouraging message of this first-rate group of scholars. As more and more Americans seek to live in human-scale communities that really work, the strategies outlined in this book—for economic development, business ownership, local investment, and entrepreneurship--can seed a rural Renaissance."

    Michael H. Shuman, Author, PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR LIFE IS