Connecting Nature & Economy

On March 14th, we partnered with Plan NH to host a workshop on Nature & Economy at the Audubon Center in Concord, NH.  Forty planners, architects, community and economic development professionals attended the half day, interactive workshop.  Our learning objectives were to share how to identify natural assets and better connect them to community economic development goals in a sustainable way.  After presenting some background on the concept of natural capital and sharing examples of how communities are leveraging natural capital for economic vibrancy, everyone took some time to sketch out their community’s natural assets as well as their economic center/main street/downtown on paper.  Rich group discussions followed as folks talked about how their community could better connect natural assets (such as rivers, forests, lakes, mountains, trails, etc.) with their main streets.  We closed out the workshop with data on the economic benefits of recreation, tourism, and green infrastructure.  We also talked about some of the tradeoffs inherent in these approaches to economic development.  A final group discussion focused on next steps each participant would take in their community.  The group was enthusiastic and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with PlanNH.  Future Nature & Economy workshops are in the works as well as additional opportunities for more in-depth learning on the topic.  Stay tuned!