14 episodes

While the dominant narrative regarding rural America is one of decline and division, Reimagine Rural is a new podcast that visits rural towns across the United States that are experiencing positive change and explores how public investment in rural people and places can lead to increased prosperity. Hosted by Tony Pipa, a scholar in the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution and a product of rural America, each episode will feature local voices telling the story of progress in their community and consider the intersection with policy and public resources.

Reimagine Rural The Brookings Institution

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 15 Ratings

While the dominant narrative regarding rural America is one of decline and division, Reimagine Rural is a new podcast that visits rural towns across the United States that are experiencing positive change and explores how public investment in rural people and places can lead to increased prosperity. Hosted by Tony Pipa, a scholar in the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution and a product of rural America, each episode will feature local voices telling the story of progress in their community and consider the intersection with policy and public resources.

    The unique challenge of bringing broadband to rural America

    The unique challenge of bringing broadband to rural America

    Rural America disproportionately lacks access to high-speed broadband, an essential component of modern life. Though the issue—and many attempts to address it—go back much farther, the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act appropriated $42.5 billion for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to close the gap once and for all. In this episode, Tony Pipa visits Macon County, Alabama, and also talks with leaders from Jal, New Mexico, and Humboldt County, California to learn how they have overcome their challenges to bring broadband to their rural communities. And the director of the new BEAD program lays out the federal government’s broadband agenda.
    Episode transcript and show notes.
    Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.

    • 57 min
    Will offshore wind be good for Humboldt County, California?

    Will offshore wind be good for Humboldt County, California?

    In late 2022, the federal government auctioned off ocean access near the coast of Humboldt County, California to develop an offshore wind installation. This major industrial project could produce 6% of the state’s current energy needs just in its initial stage. In this episode, Tony Pipa visits Humboldt County to understand the scale and ambition of the project and learn how key stakeholders, including leaders of local tribes, are coming together to ensure the benefits are shared and avoid the exploitation that occurred with past economic development.
    Episode transcript and show notes.
    Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.

    • 55 min
    A modern twist on company towns

    A modern twist on company towns

    The history of rural America includes "company towns,” where one employer controlled pretty much everything in town, from retail to housing to jobs, to get as much as possible out of their workers. The fortunes of many rural communities remain closely tied to a major employer even today, and Tony Pipa travels to Humboldt, Kansas, and New Berlin, New York, to learn what it means to rural renewal when community investment and partnership—rather than extraction—comprise the guiding ethos of a local business.
    Episode transcript and show notes.
    Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.

    • 52 min
    Season Two of Reimagine Rural is coming soon

    Season Two of Reimagine Rural is coming soon

    Season two of Reimagine Rural podcast debuts soon, with host Tony Pipa once again visiting small towns from coast to coast and collecting the stories of local leaders with a focus on how they're trying to take advantage of major new opportunities available in today's economy. That often means managing big public investments and dealing with outside interests, from renewable energy to new manufacturing to broadband and more.
    In season two, Tony brings you a whole new set of stories from small town America on how local places are organizing themselves to ensure these investments lead to increased, good, and equitable rural prosperity.
    Subscribe on your favorite podcast app or visit us at Brookings dot edu slash Reimagine Rural. www.brookings.edu/ReimagineRural
     

    • 1 min
    Bonus episode: Local stories from listeners

    Bonus episode: Local stories from listeners

    We planned only eight episodes of Reimagine Rural, but we heard from so many listeners across the country that we couldn’t help but share more. In this episode, host Tony Pipa speaks with listeners from four towns across the country to hear their stories of community revitalization: Lovington, New Mexico, on rebuilding its downtown; Brattleboro, Vermont, on embracing refugee resettlement; De Soto, Kansas, on gearing up for the clean energy transition; and Quincy, California, on connecting a region through inclusive outdoor recreation.
    We're gratified to have heard from many of you about your own town and the positive things happening there. While this episode concludes season one, please continue to send notes about your rural town to GlobalMedia@Brookings.edu. We’d love to hear from you.
    Episode transcript and show notes: https://bit.ly/3o2S71H 
    Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.

    • 43 min
    A recipe for a rural policy renaissance

    A recipe for a rural policy renaissance

    In this episode, Tony Pipa reflects on lessons learned throughout his journeys across rural America. He hears from new and old friends about the most important elements of effective rural policy—investing in local leadership and capacity, improving coherence at the federal level, and investing in flexible, substantial grants—but is also reminded that beauty, quality of life, and pride of place are key catalysts for community renewal.
    We're gratified to have heard from many of you about your own town and the positive things happening there. Feel free to send a note about your rural town to GlobalMedia@Brookings.edu. We’d love to hear from you. 
    Episode transcript and show notes: https://bit.ly/3nbTjiR 
    Reimagine Rural is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback to podcasts@brookings.edu.

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

tfreejpa ,

Very encouraging

These ideas have my mind spinning as I think about my own rural community!

Megan Grubb ,

Great resource for rural community and economic development insight!

I work in economic development in rural communities and this podcast is amazing! It truly represents the inspiring stories, people, and things happening in rural.

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