Best Practices in Rural Economic Development and Planning

A Learning Series for Municipal Councillors and Practitioners


Dr. W.J. Caldwell, Professor,
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
University of Guelph


Dr. Jennifer Ball, Norman Ragetlie,
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
University of Guelph


Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

executive summary
This project will enhance the KTT component of an ongoing research project funded by the OMAFRA/UoG partnership on best practices in planning for rural economic development in areas with limited or negative population growth.

This project will use a variety of methods to showcase the results of this research, primarily a How-To Manual on best practices in planning and economic development. The main KTT project deliverable will be a series of 8 – 10 professional development workshops for rural regions across southern, eastern and northern Ontario.  The target audience will be municipal councillors and economic development practitioners in rural areas. These workshops will not only make the research available to front line workers in rural economic development but will also provide them with knowledge and tools that can be put into immediate action in their communities. Workshops will also be used to enhance and refine the How-To Manual with feedback from participants throughout the duration of the project. Other KTT methods include article submissions to Municipal World magazine and presentations at non-academic conferences such as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario AGM.

This project fits under the OMAFRA research theme of Rural Policy: Regional Development. After determining how a number of rural communities are planning successfully for economic development, this project will now put this information into the hands of key stakeholders as a way to build local planning and development capacity. It also has the potential to impact municipal policy decisions, particularly in terms of the process of community economic development.
goals and objectives
  • To develop a series of interactive workshops on planning for community economic development based on a recently completed best practices guide
  • To offer 8-10 workshops to municipal councillors and economic development practitioners in rural Ontario
  • To attend 4-5 non-academic conferences to present results of the research project
  • To submit a series of articles to Municipal World
  • To disseminate the Best Practices Guide to rural municipalities