USDA Rural Development

About these workshops:

Smart growth strategies can help small towns build durable local economies, reduce public costs, and preserve the features that make them unique. And reinvesting in existing places can actually be even more impactful in smaller communities than in big cities. Small communities have fewer financial resources to work with, so even modest efforts to reduce costs—or generate more revenue—by growing in different ways can make a big difference.

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI)

Under this program, we are partnering with six rural communities to support their specific economic, fiscal, and/or housing needs to help them prosper. In each community, we will deliver technical assistance that helps these communities understand and embrace 21st century demographic, fiscal, and economic changes that puts communities like theirs in a fierce competition to create a sense of place. These communities will receive a workshop that will help them:

Below are the workshop tools and the six communities we are partnering with. Learn more about this program by reading our kickoff blog post.

The program will wrap up with an in-person meeting in Washington, DC including two representatives from each community.

Atmore, Alabama

Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health | February 19-20, 2019

Erwin, Tennessee

Workforce Housing | May 29-30, 2019

Natchez, Mississippi

Cool & Connected | April 24-25, 2019

Ruston, Louisiana

Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health | September 17-18, 2019

Tucker County, West Virginia

Cool & Connected | June 11-12, 2019

Wilton, Maine

Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health | October 2-3, 2019


Previous work: Smart Growth Strategies for Strong Rural Communities

In 2016, Smart Growth America partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development (USDA RD) program to deliver strategies and programs that assist rural communities implement smart growth approaches. The workshops provided community leaders with information and data on the economic and fiscal health impacts of development patterns. The communities selected by USDA RD received the workshops and analyses at no cost to the recipient.

Under this program, we also created three free toolkits specifically for rural communities, available for download:

Learn more about our work with the communities below:

Alton, Missouri

July 13-14, 2016

Bamberg, South Carolina

November 14-15, 2016

Bottineau, North Dakota

November 1-2, 2016

Brookings, South Dakota

July 27-28, 2016

Pagosa Springs, Colorado*

May 24-25, 2017

Pittsburg, Kansas*

October 11-12, 2016

Quitman, Mississippi*

December 13-14, 2016

Rifle, Colorado

July 5-6, 2016

St. James Parish, Louisiana

February 1-2, 2017

Williamsburg, Massachusetts

November 29-30, 2016

*These communities also received a workshop from Smart Growth America funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

(Photo credit: Jasperdo via Flickr)