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Revitalization,Tourism, Placemaking

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Revitalization and Asset-based Community Development

Many towns, large and small, in North Carolina have undergone a recent transformation in their downtown areas. This revitalization effort is due to the efforts of town councils, local development organizations, non-profits, and many formal and informal groups of ordinary citizens.  Asset-based community development is a form of development that builds on what a community has and incorporates feedback from its citizens in the creation of a community plan for change. Appreciative Inquiry is a methodology that helps citizens switch their focus from what is bad, to what is good, thus reinforcing the principles of asset-based community development and helping the community dream a new destiny.

Using principles of both Appreciative Inquiry and Asset-based Community Development, NC State Extension developed the Cultivate NC curriculum for agents to encourage community engagement in their communities’ revitalization and redevelopment planning efforts.

NC State Extension has two new programs intended to revitalize North Carolina’s communities. The First Impressions program delivers important information to participating communities through a special form of “secret shopper” assessment. Communities must apply to become a part of the First Impressions program.

The CREATE BRIDGES initiative is being launched in 2020 to strengthen the retail, accommodation, tourism, and entertainment sectors in one multi-county region. Although this initiative, which is supported through funding from Walmart, is only being piloted in one region in 2020, the tools and resources provided through CREATE BRIDGES will be applied to other multi-county regions in the future.

Extension is especially well-positioned to help a community revitalize its downtown core through local foods. A recent report on the Impact of Extension Local Food Programming on Downtown Redevelopment provides a list of recommended steps to revitalize a community through local food enterprises. Growing a Healthy Economy with Local Foods instructs agents on how to strengthen local food system development in their region by learning the language of economic development. The Fork to Farmer initiative produces videos that  highlight the special relationship between farmers and the chefs they provide product to.


Links to Resources