Center for Rural Communities
Creating resilient communities.
The Center for Rural Communities (CRC) at Northland College provides a cohesive and comprehensive examination of modern rural America. Focusing on the rural communities in the Northwoods of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, we apply research based solutions to social and economic challenges, partner with community members to build on local knowledge, and promote the long-term health and vitality of rural communities. We understand rural communities, listen to their stories, amplify their voices, and work to help improve quality of life for the people who live, work, and play in these communities.
Rural areas and small towns in the United States are at the forefront of social, economic, and ecological transformation and change. These rural communities often grapple with social and economic challenges resulting from deindustrialization, environmental regulation, population loss, and a declining tax base. The Northwoods features communities both thriving and distressed, and provides an opportunity to imagine, research, and implement development that creates more sustainable, resilient economies and communities.
What We Do
The CRC provides research and consultation services to community organizations, policy makers, tribal governments, and private businesses to support strategic, data-driven community-based programming and development.
The Center also supports original research that provides timely and relevant data and analysis about the social, cultural, and economic forces shaping the region, and, disseminates findings and models through reports, presentations, and publications. With an organized and systematic approach to community-based inquiry, the CRC is committed to creating opportunities for cross-disciplinary research.
Through place-based research and capacity building initiatives, CRC researchers and students collaborate with a wide range of partners to understand and create inclusive and sustainable rural communities.
The CRC will be a nationally recognized hub for transformative change as we collectively build more sustainable and just rural futures.
- We are committed to collaborative, transdisciplinary research as we work with students and a broad range of partners including universities, Tribal Nations, state, regional and municipal entities, non-profits, community-based organizations, businesses and other community stakeholders.
- These collaborations value and leverage diverse forms of expertise including academic, practice-based, cross-sector, Indigenous and local knowledges.
- Our work is deeply tied to place, as we respond to and learn from our challenging and unique rural environment that includes the built, social, and natural worlds.
- Through collaborative, place-based approaches, we generate new knowledge, models and methods for addressing community needs, influencing policy, and improving practice.
- We build capacity for the region by connecting communities with resources, strengthening networks, and providing facilitation and planning services.
- We engage and empower Northland students by creating innovative learning opportunities where students apply their multidisciplinary environmental liberal education to pressing regional needs and challenges.