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Thread: Facility building in rural communities

  1. #1
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    Facility building in rural communities

    I’m a graduate student in an urban planning program and am doing my practicum working with a rural city in Oregon. This ‘city’ has a population of roughly 2300 and almost half these are under the age of 18. The mill, which was the primary employer, is gone and there is virtually no local economy. In addition, TWO 500-year floods have hit the city in the last 11 years leaving the town and its residents devastated. Through various community meetings people identified expansion of community facilities and recreational opportunities for teens as one key factor in the city’s ability to be resilient (getting out of flood plain and creating economy were also noted).

    My question to you is this:
    Can any of you point to resources re: facilities and capacity building in rural communities?

    Any good case studies on rural communities building and running community centers, getting money for refurbishing existing facilities, building the community capacity to get projects off the ground?

    How would you address a community’s desire to refurbish/build indoor/outdoor facilities that include places for teens?

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Oh god. The "nothing for teens" argument. You will hear this over and over again throughout your career. It is usually followed by some adult's opinion of what kids want. I have seen countless such initiatives fail miserably.

    But wait. There is also the "we want our kids to be able to come back here to work after they graduate" dream. Face it, the kids don't want to live in Podunk, USA, and besides, they did not go to college for a degree in mechanical engineering to become a welder at the local factory.

    Sorry for the groan, eye roll, and unhelpful comments. I guess I am just feeling a bit off today.

    The best thing to do, of course, is to talk with the teens in an environment of their peers. That means no adults. Ask them what they really like to do, and what they need to go somewhere else to do. Then figure out if they will do the additional things enough to really warrant the expense of building new facilities, or if traveling to another town is still a good solution.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the feedback Cardinal

    I agree with your comments. However, I do need to graduate so and have to come up with something. You are right, we heard much from adults, which is not always reflective of what teens want. However, we addressing this by holding a teen focus group this week to address this issue precisely.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Jan 2008
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    What type of mill was there? Lumber? Does the town have rail access? Can the town mitigate against future floods or is it time to face the music and let the town RIP?

  5. #5

    giving up the ghost?

    We have heard many times the idea of "letting a town die". It comes up in discussions of global sustainability, economic feasibility, etc. But what does that look like one the ground. How do we help towns like this age gracefully. And what if they want to fight it out with what they have left. How do you tell a community to give up the ghost? Any experiences?

  6. #6

    what to do?

    hai,
    its me sudeep,
    i am student of urban planning from Nepal, in my opinion the real psychology can only be understand by having a direct discussion with them, so, there needs can be assessed properly as well as the how to engaged them in there liesure time so that the income generating activities can be done too.

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