Economic development in rural Texas: A study of heritage, assets, barriers and stakeholders in six rural communities

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2022

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Spinuzzi, Clay

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In summer 2021, I led a team of six graduate research assistants in a project to better understand economic development in small-town Texas. We asked these research questions: ● How do community leaders understand their community heritage as constraining or enabling development? ● Where do community leaders and members see potential for change and growth in community development? Where do they see barriers, threats, and hard choices? ● How do community leaders describe the relations among community development stakeholders? How do they describe expectations and trust among them on interpersonal, inter-group, and inter-organizational levels? To conduct the research, we selected six communities, which were paired to help us generate comparisons. For most communities, we had “grids,” or brief summaries of interviews that undergraduate students had conducted in summer 2020; these grids gave us a starting point for our more formal interviews as well as an idea of what concerns community leaders had expressed. Based on grids and a review of basic statistics for these communities, we selected three paired sets of communities.

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