New Book by UNH Extension Authors Dispels Myth that Rural Places Don’t Innovate

Research shows that rural communities in New Hampshire are innovating

Extension Program Leader Charlie French, Ph.D, teamed up with 26 leading community development scholars and practitioners from around the country — including UNH Extension experts Shannon Rogers, Ph.D, Molly Donovan, Casey Porter, Jared Reynolds and Geoff Sewake — to publish a new book that explores how innovation manifests itself in rural places and ultimately contributes to entrepreneurial development and community resilience.

Colorful umbrellas

Much attention has been placed on how metropolitan areas innovate, but relatively little work has been done to explore innovation in rural places, including New Hampshire. That is because the common measures of innovation — the number of startups, patents and R&D activity; access to venture capital; density of technology firms; and the number of STEM degree holders — are biased towards more urban places with high concentrations of businesses, institutions and capital. 

The book’s authors set out to demonstrate that rural places do innovate, even if that innovation may differ significantly from more metropolitan areas. Innovation in rural places may be the result of new forms of collaboration, programs that leverage rural assets to address critical service gaps, novel strategies for accessing financial capital or the infusion of arts into aspects of community life.

Littleton buildings next to water

Innovation has been critical to the resiliency of rural places throughout history, particularly over the past two years of the pandemic. In Building Rural Community Resilience Through Innovation and Entrepreneurship, readers learn how rural places around the country and the world have innovated and adapted to meet current challenges and foster vibrant businesses and local economies.

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Charlie French
Faculty Affiliate
Phone: (603) 862-0316
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824