Innovators in Rural Community Economic Development
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  • Wealth Creation: A New Framework for Rural Economic and Community Development

Wealth Creation: A New Framework for Rural Economic and Community Development

A new approach to rural development is emerging. Instead of being about attracting companies that might create jobs over which communities have no control, the emerging paradigm is about connecting the unique underutilized assets of place with market opportunity to grow assets that are owned and controlled by and for the benefit of low-wealth people and places. But asset development is about more than bricks and mortar or narrowly defined financial assets. There are many kinds of assets that communities require to thrive – such as social capital, natural capital, political capital, and intellectual capital. The emerging new approach to rural development is, then about broadening the definition of "wealth," engaging underutilized assets, and a key third element: harnessing the power of the market – rather than relying solely on philanthropy and government. Wealth Creation provides a conceptual guide with practical examples for policymakers, practitioners of economic and community development, community organizers, environmentalists, funders, investors, and corporations seeking a values-based framework for identifying self-interests across sectors that can lead to opportunities to transform existing systems for the collective good.

"The Wealth Creation Framework has been like a shot of adrenalin for our region! It has helped us focus on the various forms of wealth while empowering non-traditional stakeholders throughout the process. Our success implementing the Wealth Creation Framework has led us to integrate its framework into other systems change initiatives across our county." —Ryan Coffey Hoag, Land Use Educator, Michigan State University Extension, USA

"With decades of practical experience working across the country, experimenting with different approaches to local economic development, Ratner has developed an approach as well as a world-view that succeeds in the transforming of communities and people. This book brings her work together in a readable and nononsense way that will allow others to use her work and vast knowledge as a springboard for understanding communities, what animates them, and how real community wealth and equity can be created. " —Mark Lapping, Professor Emeritus of Policy, Planning, and Management, University of Southern Maine, USA

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