ICF Institute Founder Publishes New Book on ‘The Responsive Countryside’

Dr. Roberto Gallardo has published a new book titled Responsive Countryside: The Digital Age and Rural Communities. Dr. Gallardo is the founder and leader of the Mississippi State University Extension Service Intelligent Community Institute (MSUES-ICI), part of a worldwide network that assists rural communities to better plan for and prosper in the digital age. A brief description of the book follows.

The digital age is upon us. Its exponential, digital, combinatorial, and disruptive characteristics are ushering in revolutionary changes to our economic and social landscape. While serious privacy and security concerns abound, applications such as e-commerce, telehealth, telework, precision agriculture, and artificial intelligence show that the overall benefits of the digital age are larger than its potential problems. This digital revolution creates challenges and opportunities for all segments of society, but the transformations it will bring have the potential to level the playing field between urban and rural communities. Traditionally, innovations have been sparked where people and resources were concentrated in close physical proximity, such as in big cities or large companies. This “physical density” is becoming less crucial as a “virtual density” powered by digital real-time, two-way communications now allows diverse groups of people across the globe to collaborate regardless of where they live and work. This changing nature of innovation provides unique opportunities for rural areas. However, several issues must be addressed before rural communities can take full advantage of these opportunities. A “digital divide” is leaving many nonmetropolitan areas behind, and generational conflicts between older policymakers and younger residents often undermine rural efforts to fully enter the digital age. Some communities may miss these new opportunities altogether, further exacerbating economic inequalities. But how can this important message be conveyed to rural audiences to increase their awareness of both the challenges and the opportunities? This book showcases a four-step process—based on the community development asset-mapping model—in which the state Extension Service plays a critical role in helping rural communities transition to, plan for, and prosper in the digital age.

About the ICF Mississippi Institute
The Mississippi State University Extension Service Intelligent Community Institute (MSUES-ICI) is part of a worldwide network that assists rural communities to better plan for and prosper in the digital age.

A joint project between the Extension Center for Technology Outreach and the Extension Center for Government and Community Development, the MSUES-ICI main goal is to assist rural communities, through an educational/planning process, transition to a digital mindset and build prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable communities.

The educational planning process is customized for each community with the ultimate objective for communities to become more aware and knowledgeable on how to think and act digitally.

For more information, visit http://ici.msucares.com.


Victoria Krisman
Victoria Krisman is Interactive Media Specialist and Communications Manager for the Intelligent Community Forum.

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