370 views • posted 10/26/2023 • updated 10/26/2023

Bridging the Urban-Rural Economic Divide

It’s time for the narrative to shift from urban vs. rural to a shared economic future. Bridging the economic divide between urban and rural areas will require states, regions and localities to understand and bolster the relationship between urban and rural areas in economically meaningful and strategic ways.

The results of this study show that urban and rural labels do not need to be limiting or defining factors in determining the economic success of cities and towns. Broadening the definition of the “urban-rural divide” from population and density measures, to one that accounts for economic interconnectedness, further refines our understanding of how to develop an effective economic development strategy. The consequences of failing to think beyond conventional notions of “urban” and “rural” will limit the ability of state and local leaders to encourage sustainable growth.

This study also reveals that an evidence-based pathway to narrowing urban and rural economic divides where they exist is by bolstering the economic relationships between urban and rural areas. Traditional economic development approaches to narrow the divide tend to focus solely on supporting critical infrastructure and other foundations for rural areas. Although this type of asset building is vitally important, it in and of itself does not generate new drivers of economic growth. A cluster approach can be adapted for a rural context to build and strengthen value chains, market access, and other urban-rural economic relationships. With intention, states, regions, and cities can make progress to improve not only local outcomes but regional and state ones as well.

Attached document published April 2018

More articles in this category

Great Allegheny Passage Economic Impact Report

posted Oct 19, 2023

This report was developed by Fourth Economy in partnership with the Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy (formerly the Allegheny Trail Alliance). Research was conducted between the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021.

2022 CDT Small Business Survey

posted Feb 14, 2023

From August to December 2021, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition surveyed 136 small business owners in 38 communities located along the Continental Divide Trail to learn more about how the Continental Divide Trail impacts their businesses, the local economy, and their support for public lands.

Impact of Trails Hub

posted Apr 11, 2022

Everything you need to know about the positive impact of trails on health, environment, economics, and more.

Economic Impact of Parks

posted Oct 25, 2021

An Examination of the Economic Impacts of Operations and Capital Spending by Local Park and Recreation Agencies on the U.S. Economy