A note from our Executive Director...
Asset-based economic development - an effective rural strategy
What does Cadillac Ranch, the largest ball of twine, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Seattle Space Needle have in common? They are all examples of asset-based economic development. Identifying what makes a community unique is a very effective strategy for rural areas and if intentionally leveraged, can at minimum, create a community brand and attract visitors.
Asset-based economic development is not mountain biking or rafting…at least not in Colorado. Yes, we have rivers, and public lands, but those are not unique to our community alone. Wealthworks.org talks about eight capitals that I believe rural communities can look at and help identify their “unique assets”. The capitals include cultural, political, social, built, natural and intellectual among others. Individual capital includes the skills, physical health and mental wellness in a region’s people (think agriculture and extreme athletes). Intellectual capital includes a community’s knowledge, creativity and innovation (think Los Alamos scientists or even your corporate retiree base). Mesa Verde is an example of a built asset. Looking at a community’s unique assets and promoting them intentionally is the foundation for diversifying and strengthening an economy.
Asset-based economic development is one of four economic development strategies that are very effective in rural communities. I will be highlighting some others over the next few newsletters.
Laura Lewis Marchino