The Sustainable City Network is out with a provocative new article looking at population decline in rural areas in Iowa and wondering whether the federal government and the states should continue to invest in infrastructure, human capital, and other economic development in rural communities.
On the one side, Jeff Schott, director of the University of Iowa Institute of Public Affairs argues that even though populations in some rural areas are shrinking, they should not be allowed to wither away or be ignored:
“There is clearly a role for state and national governments to be sure rural areas remain vibrant and viable. There is also a role the market plays in terms of jobs and opportunities,” he said.
On the other, argues Kevin Clark, an Iowa entrepreneur, these investments by government entities may be too little, too late:
“Rather than fighting an expensive and ultimately un-winnable war, we might be better off to encourage growth wherever we find it naturally occurring in Iowa,” he said.
Articles like this one are reminders that there is much work to be done in convincing both policy makers and the public at large that rural matters and is worth making strategic investments in. Feel free to comment below to share why rural matters to you and what rural economic development means to your community.