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Reimagine Rural

Author: The Brookings Institution

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While the dominant narrative regarding rural America is one of decline and division, Reimagine Rural is a new podcast that visits rural towns across the United States that are experiencing positive change and explores how public investment in rural people and places can lead to increased prosperity. Hosted by Tony Pipa, a scholar in the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution and a product of rural America, each episode will feature local voices telling the story of progress in their community and consider the intersection with policy and public resources.
15 Episodes
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Intel Corporation is building two multi-billion-dollar semiconductor chip fabrication plants in Licking County, Ohio. While this industrial installation, the largest private-sector investment in Ohio’s history, promises to create thousands of jobs, it will also bring big changes to the area, affecting nearby rural places that were not part of the siting decision. In this episode, Tony Pipa talks with local leaders about how they are meeting the challenge by creating a shared vision for equitable development that seeks to protect the integrity of their towns as they face inevitable changes. Episode transcript and show notes. Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
Rural America disproportionately lacks access to high-speed broadband, an essential component of modern life. Though the issue—and many attempts to address it—go back much farther, the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act appropriated $42.5 billion for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to close the gap once and for all. In this episode, Tony Pipa visits Macon County, Alabama, and also talks with leaders from Jal, New Mexico, and Humboldt County, California to learn how they have overcome their challenges to bring broadband to their rural communities. And the director of the new BEAD program lays out the federal government’s broadband agenda. Episode transcript and show notes. Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
In late 2022, the federal government auctioned off ocean access near the coast of Humboldt County, California to develop an offshore wind installation. This major industrial project could produce 6% of the state’s current energy needs just in its initial stage. In this episode, Tony Pipa visits Humboldt County to understand the scale and ambition of the project and learn how key stakeholders, including leaders of local tribes, are coming together to ensure the benefits are shared and avoid the exploitation that occurred with past economic development. Episode transcript and show notes. Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
The history of rural America includes "company towns,” where one employer controlled pretty much everything in town, from retail to housing to jobs, to get as much as possible out of their workers. The fortunes of many rural communities remain closely tied to a major employer even today, and Tony Pipa travels to Humboldt, Kansas, and New Berlin, New York, to learn what it means to rural renewal when community investment and partnership—rather than extraction—comprise the guiding ethos of a local business. Episode transcript and show notes. Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
Season two of Reimagine Rural podcast debuts soon, with host Tony Pipa once again visiting small towns from coast to coast and collecting the stories of local leaders with a focus on how they're trying to take advantage of major new opportunities available in today's economy. That often means managing big public investments and dealing with outside interests, from renewable energy to new manufacturing to broadband and more. In season two, Tony brings you a whole new set of stories from small town America on how local places are organizing themselves to ensure these investments lead to increased, good, and equitable rural prosperity. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app or visit us at Brookings dot edu slash Reimagine Rural. www.brookings.edu/ReimagineRural  
We planned only eight episodes of Reimagine Rural, but we heard from so many listeners across the country that we couldn’t help but share more. In this episode, host Tony Pipa speaks with listeners from four towns across the country to hear their stories of community revitalization: Lovington, New Mexico, on rebuilding its downtown; Brattleboro, Vermont, on embracing refugee resettlement; De Soto, Kansas, on gearing up for the clean energy transition; and Quincy, California, on connecting a region through inclusive outdoor recreation. We're gratified to have heard from many of you about your own town and the positive things happening there. While this episode concludes season one, please continue to send notes about your rural town to GlobalMedia@Brookings.edu. We’d love to hear from you. Episode transcript and show notes: https://bit.ly/3o2S71H  Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
In this episode, Tony Pipa reflects on lessons learned throughout his journeys across rural America. He hears from new and old friends about the most important elements of effective rural policy—investing in local leadership and capacity, improving coherence at the federal level, and investing in flexible, substantial grants—but is also reminded that beauty, quality of life, and pride of place are key catalysts for community renewal. We're gratified to have heard from many of you about your own town and the positive things happening there. Feel free to send a note about your rural town to GlobalMedia@Brookings.edu. We’d love to hear from you.  Episode transcript and show notes: https://bit.ly/3nbTjiR  Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
In this episode of Reimagine Rural, host Tony Pipa goes to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, anchor of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and Tribe. We hear how local business owners, tribal administration, and leaders from the Four Bands Community Fund are working to build credit, foster creativity, and center local voices in future development. We're gratified to have heard from many of you about your own town and the positive things happening there. Feel free to send a note about your rural town to GlobalMedia@Brookings.edu. We’d love to hear from you.  Episode transcript and show notes: https://bit.ly/3L3mWNa  Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
In this episode of “Reimagine Rural,” host Tony Pipa visits the neighboring towns of Thomas and Davis, West Virginia, former resource-dependent economies that have reinvented themselves as destinations for art and outdoor recreation. Tony speaks with long-time residents who saw the community’s decline, and newcomers who  helped spur its revitalization. They describe the new challenges that come with economic growth and their hopes for community-focused sustainable development in the future. We're gratified to have heard from many of you about your own town and the positive things happening there. Feel free to send a note about your rural town to GlobalMedia@Brookings.edu. We’d love to hear from you.  Episode transcript and show notes: https://brook.gs/417Imyj  Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
In this episode of “Reimagine Rural,” host Tony Pipa visits DeWitt, Arkansas, deep in the Mississippi Delta, where a failed biofuel project sparked a shift in the community’s economic identity. Entrepreneurs share the stories of how their small businesses got off the ground and what their plans are for their future and the future of DeWitt. We're gratified to have heard from many of you about your own town and the positive things happening there. Feel free to send a note about your rural town to GlobalMedia@Brookings.edu. We’d love to hear from you.  Episode transcript and show notes: https://brook.gs/3Dqe7rY Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
In this episode of “Reimagine Rural,” Tony Pipa visits Drew and Moorhead, two towns in Sunflower County, Mississippi, once home to cotton plantations, where the country’s history of slavery and the civil rights movement set the context for these rural towns and their path to renewal today. Local leaders and homecomers describe their efforts to build communities where people want to live—and the role of beauty and leisure in achieving their visions. Episode transcript and show notes: https://brook.gs/3iHnsVk Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
In this episode of “Reimagine Rural,” Tony Pipa speaks with key officials from the executive branch serving rural America. They discuss the current state of rural policy, its origins, and a blueprint for the future. We also hear from past and future guests about their needs and their recommendations for the federal government.   Episode transcript and show notes: https://brook.gs/3FZetY4 Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
In this episode of “Reimagine Rural,” Tony Pipa speaks with homecomers who returned to a boom-and-bust copper mining town to revitalize its historic district. Despite pandemic-related setbacks, Globe, Arizona’s small business renaissance is expanding into new community infrastructure and collaboration with regional neighbors. As the town works to attract tourists to its beautiful Southwestern landscapes, it is also poised to contribute to the clean energy transition. The Inflation Reduction Act’s incentivizes domestic production for electric vehicle batteries, of which copper is a major component. Episode transcript and show notes: https://brook.gs/3XT7ozd Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
Shamokin, Pennsylvania is a former coal town on its way to becoming an outdoor recreation destination after decades of decline. In this episode of Reimagine Rural, Tony Pipa returns to his roots to learn how an abandoned mine remediation project is helping spur community renewal. He speaks with local leaders and residents who are bringing their vision to life with the support of key public resources. Episode transcript and show notes: https://brook.gs/3TZZGjD Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.
While the dominant narrative regarding rural America is one of decline and division, Reimagine Rural is a new podcast that visits rural towns across the United States that are experiencing positive change and explores how public investment in rural people and places can lead to increased prosperity. Hosted by Tony Pipa, a scholar in the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution and a product of rural America, each episode features local voices telling the story of progress in their community and consider the intersection with policy and public resources.  Join Tony on this journey to visit a diverse set of towns across America to learn more about how rural communities are adapting to the 21st century. Full episodes start November 22. Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback email to podcasts@brookings.edu.
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