Turning Rural Planning Inside-out

APA Idaho


Friday, October 13, 2017
8:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. MDT

CM | 1.25

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In rural communities, we need to start thinking beyond what we are taught as planners. It is obvious that small communities have different needs and operate under different structures than their urban counter parts. Rural areas and communities are still viable, but to “Plan Big,” different approaches need to be used in order for these communities to thrive into the future.

Much of Idaho and the Mountain West is still rural. Small towns dot the vast landscape that separates large urban centers. Many planners throughout the state and this region work in or with rural communities, yet some may struggle to apply their planning knowledge or tools to the challenges rural communities face. The fact is, rural planning is different, and yet, modern planning education and literature does not expand on these differences. Modern rural planning does not take into consideration that rural communities are the product of their territory and social makeup; it simply applies urban planning principles to the rural landscape.  However, this practice has misled planners and hindered their ability to have a positive impact in rural areas. This session will enable practicing planners to gain insight on how and why rural communities operate differently, how the planning process is affected, and the importance of using bottom-up planning approaches.

Through this session, we hope attendees will learn that rural communities are distinctly different from urban areas, as well as amongst themselves. To get to the heart of planning in these communities, planners should approach planning differently than they would in urban communities. Planners should understand that rural communities operate under informal decision-making structures and successful implementation relies on the health of internal social networks. 


Jaap Vos

Contact Info

Diane Kushlan, dkushlan@fiberpipe.net