Resource Guide

In the Resource Guide, we are compiling the stories of communities—some local, and some from other parts of the country—that have come up with creative ways of increasing their prosperity while sustaining their quality of life and protecting their heritage. We aren’t suggesting that any one approach is the right one for this region, but we hope that these case studies will serve as a source of ideas and inspiration as our region charts its own course

In our conversations with residents across the region, certain topics keep coming up.  We have organized the Resource Guide around these topics (see the links at right).  Just click on a topic to learn more.

Research for the Resource Guide was conducted by students at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Local Treasures

Starting in Fall 2010, residents of our region are identifying the good things in their communities and putting them on the map. This process, called asset mapping, is a way of recognizing and celebrating our local cultural, natural, and business assets. It is also an essential first step in developing a strategy that will sustain and enhance those assets for future generations.

Introduction to Social Media for Festivals and Events

Slideshow covers Characteristics of Social Media… statistics, How to Listen – setting up alerts, Intro to Facebook, and Intro to Twitter – Twelve Tips. Click here to view slideshow.

The Culinary Trust is Offering Grants for Chefs Move to Schools Projects
Posted on October 13, 2011 by Susan
There are now 2,700 citizen chefs signed on to be part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative, working in 2,500 schools across the US, according to Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass. If … Continue reading →

Minneapolis’s Midtown Greenway Connects People to Their City — By Bike
Posted on October 13, 2011 by Susan
Our buddies over at the always excellent Streetfilms have posted a new video about the incredible bike trail network in Minneapolis (100 miles of off-street paths!), focusing on the Midtown Greenway. This 5.7 mile path, which has been developed in … Continue reading →

Map murals can drive tourism
Posted on October 11, 2011 by Susan
Last week, I found myself in downtown Concrete, Washington, facing this huge map mural at the end of the street. I love the way the design works around the doorway. I even love the tag line, “Welcome to Concrete, center … Continue reading →

The Architecture of Disaster Recovery: A Call to Arms for Designers from the World’s Most Vulnerable Regions
Posted on October 11, 2011 by Susan
Two hundred million people have been affected by natural disasters and hazards in the last decade. For every person who dies, some 3,000 are left facing terrible risks. Ninety-eight percent of these victims live in the developing world, where billions


Starting in 2010, partners from across the central coast began talking about ways to increase the region’s economic prosperity by building upon, rather than sacrificing, our cherished cultural and natural heritage: an asset-based economic development strategy. The purpose of this website is to record and contribute to that conversation.

The project is coordinated by Karen Amspacher at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center. Project activities Down East are coordinated by cultural anthropologist and Gloucester resident Barbara Garrity-Blake. Project activities on Hatteras Island are coordinated by Susan West, coordinator of Hatteras Connection, a community-based sustainable economic development project committed to working to ensure a future for new generations of watermen on Hatteras Island. Project activities on Ocracoke are coordinated by Robin Payne, executive director of the Ocracoke Foundation.

Research and web support for the project is provided by researchers at the Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, under the direction of Lisa Campbell. During 2010-2011, the Duke team included Gabriel Cumming, who coordinated the Resource Guide and website; Carla Norwood, who provided asset mapping support; Joshua Stoll, research fellow; and graduate students including Drew Bush, Nicole Carlozo, Alex Chen, Luke Fairbanks, and Courtney Pickett.

Funding support generously provided by:

The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Support for resource guide research provided by:

Community Forestry and Environmental Research Partnerships

“Given the long-term nature of community development, and the fact that measurable results from a particular project may be decades in the making, leaders in small towns must repeatedly make the case for the importance of their efforts. Making the case is important to maintain momentum, invigorate volunteers and donors, convince skeptics and, most importantly, keep the focus on the vision or the goals established in a community’s strategic plan.” (From “Small Town BIG IDEAS – Case Studies in Small Town Community Economic Development” – UNC School of Government and NC Rural Center)