The State Policy Panel analyzed the interdependence of urban and rural economies, resources, investments, and citizens, and how public policy affects these dynamics.
The Panel also made recommendations for inclusive decision-making structures and processes that promote participation, collaboration, and organizational, institutional, and governmental innovation.
Building sufficient capacity remains a critical rural challenge. If rural communities and regions are to plan for and implement intentional futures, validating the beneficial interdependence of rural regions surrounding thriving urban growth centers, hard and soft rural infrastructure must be strengthened.
This will require inclusive decision-making structures and processes, which promote participation, collaboration, and organizational, institutional, and governmental innovation. Diverse age, gender, ethnicity, income, and geographic constituencies must be included and engaged.
The future of rural regions and the communities of which they are comprised will be largely determined by their innovation, entrepreneurship, and asset-based placemaking successes. Equity of opportunity for economic, cultural, and social success must all be present and aligned, or future community success will be compromised.
State, regional, and local policy considerations must increasingly include specific attention to land, water, air, and natural resource stewardship, a key future quality of life determinant.
As with innovation and stewardship, a cornerstone will be a spirit of civic engagement, with active citizen participation in local decision-making, and a more general concern for state and federal policy considerations affecting their rural future. These processes must be acknowledged and encouraged.