When people come together and are unafraid to wear their multiple hats, creative solutions tend to follow.
Experts bring their technical knowledge to rural regions, and they use this knowledge to frame regional development needs and actions. Too often, they fail to notice anything outside the frame.
I remain unshakably convinced that beauty and brilliance can come from places that other people consider poor, or marginalised, or in need of paving-over.
It turns out that a great deal about how we see regional development depends on where we start.
When I started the Spring Series reflecting on regional growth, I did not anticipate how quickly growth would appear on the horizon.
Do regions need to grow, in order to survive and thrive? Is growth part of the solution, or part of the problem?
Economic growth can make entire regions more prosperous, or it can widen the gap between haves and have-nots, growing only inequity and disadvantage.
For rural regions, population growth is often presented as a solution to regional problems – even, as a synonym for regional development. Yet this is not necessarily the case.
When we talk about economic growth, we may not be talking about the same thing. Nor is economic growth the only kind of growth that matters for rural regions.
Growth is out there, it is powerful, and it influences how almost everyone thinks about regional development in rural regions – whether they realise it or not.