Rural revitalization throughout the midwest: Preserving our past to create a sustainable future
Diane M. Alshihabi
Rural revitalization has grown in popularity in recent years. Throughout the Midwest*, communities have adopted this practice in order to preserve their heritage. The benefits of this practice are social, cultural, economic, agricultural, environmental, and historical in nature. When restoring a community’s commercial district and subsequent residential neighborhoods, it is shown that property values as well as tourism increase. Rural revitalization also leads to a decrease in suburban growth thus preserving valued farmland. A community can experience all these benefits by working to preserve its architectural and historical integrity. Proof of this statement can be witnessed in communities throughout the Midwest region of the United States.
This thesis will highlight the importance of rural revitalization as well as examine its practice throughout the Midwest where agriculture is the driving force of the rural economy. It will examine the social, cultural, economic, agricultural, environmental, and historical benefits that can be experienced when implementing this form of community development as well as examine case studies throughout rural Iowa that have been successful in their revitalization efforts.