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Misadventures in Regionalism: Reaffirming the Importance of Central Places in Regional Economic Development Assistance


  • Swenson, David A.
  • Eathington, Liesl


Multi-jurisdictional regional planning and problem solving approaches have been the mainstay in rural development efforts in recent decades, and regional partnerships are often a prerequisite for state or federal funding. The authors believe that many such initiatives utilize regions of convenience rather than regions of substance. This paper describes a shift in our preferred geography for providing research and technical assistance in nonmetropolitan areas in Iowa. This shift has led us, at least regarding rural development assistance, to move towards emphasizing the provision of community development services to regionally-important nonmetropolitan urban centers, i.e., central places that clearly serve as trade, employment, and service nodes, and away from a broader regional focus that attempts to find solutions and objectives that are agreeable to multiple, yet still intensely competitive, communities.

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  • Swenson, David A. & Eathington, Liesl, 2013. "Misadventures in Regionalism: Reaffirming the Importance of Central Places in Regional Economic Development Assistance," Staff General Research Papers Archive 36151, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:36151

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    Sustainability; central place; regionalism; triple bottom line;

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