Today, the countryside is under severe and rising pressure
If you live in a rural area, you may feel the pressure yourself. The share of the population living the rural life is shrinking as large cities grow. That reduces opportunities for education and employment, forcing the brightest young adults to leave town in order to make a living. When that cycle gets started, the tax base shrinks, which leads schools to consolidate, stores to close and cultural activities to fade away, just as more people need costly social services to stay afloat.
Maybe you live in a rural community that has bucked the trend. Lots of them have. It has scenery or culture or activities that bring in tourists. It has held onto a local manufacturing base or exploited geography to become a warehouse and logistics hub. It is holding the line. But is it building a prosperous future?
And then, there are rural places where the future looks bright
If you live there, you are part of dynamic economy and progressive community. Forward-looking local businesses find global markets for their products and services. Education thrives and graduates have the chance to build a life in the place they love. Workers and employers pursue cutting-edge innovation while enjoying a quality of life your urban peers can only envy.
These are communities using broadband and information technology to eliminate distance as a barrier and make digital networks take the place of the physical proximity that urban areas provide. They are no longer “in the middle of nowhere.”
They make up the New Connected Countryside, and they have lessons to share with rural cities and towns around the world. We need your help to get those lessons to the places that need them the most.
What is the New Connected Countryside?
The New Connected Countryside is an online platform where community leaders, residents, institutions and businesses from around the world can connect, exchange advice, share resources and build a global network of peers. Each year, they will come together for a virtual global conference featuring featuring mayors, county executives, technologists, educators, investors and all the other players in the new rural economy.
Year round, they will share their discoveries, their successes, failures and lessons learned from each other. Drawn by their passion for progress, they will forge bonds that help them to retain their talented youth, to grow businesses that provide good incomes, and to give local culture a global sounding board.
Why We Need Your Help
A virtual collaboration platform is an inexpensive way to bring innovators together – but it’s not free. Our costs will include a high-quality Web platform providing registration, presentations, document libraries, online meet-ups and more, plus the human hours needed to curate the content, build participation and organize and market the annual conference. Your contribution makes it possible for The New Connected Community to get off the ground and complete its first year. Future years will be funded by participants and organizations as well as donors like you.
A dozen leading rural communities have already committed to participate, from Mitchell, South Dakota and Quitman, Mississippi to Parkland County, Alberta and Wanganui, New Zealand. The leaders of those communities are defining bold visions, taking risks and learning from experience how to translate connectivity into opportunity.
Hundreds more communities are waiting for the opportunity. Help us meet our fundraising goal, and you can be part of that network – and give people in rural communities around the world a chance for a better future.
Thank You to Our Generous Donors
- Intelligent Community Forum Foundation
- Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Mitchell Economic Development Corporation
- ICF Canada