Community Vision – Historical successes and failures in rural communities have revealed the importance of consistent change within a community. Rural communities must invest in the future and move towards clear goals, in order to thrive during hardships and upheavals to daily life. Living in a context of constant change, the community’s vision provides residents with the capacity to solve problems with a variety of expertise. With a focus on the future, rural communities must utilize strategic thinking to devise long term plans that capitalize on the strengths of their community. The community’s vision does not just serve the municipality for a few years, but looks towards longevity and preservation of the community. Initiatives should aim at capacity development within community vision.
Capable Leaders – Building capable leadership within a rural community is essential as a transition from historical power and influence shifts towards grassroots advocacy efforts. Capable leaders within a community need to be able to articulate a clear vision for their communities and are supportive of the longevity of the community’s rural trade and service centers. These leaders engage in an array of community projects, are motivated towards community development, and motivate others to utilize their expertise for the betterment of the community. With an open climate, communities must have leaders that can be challenged to increase momentum device towards new goals. Capable leaders must also embrace heterogeneous input that is representative of the population and includes women and marginalized groups.
Sustainable Infrastructure – Rural communities are built both for and by their residents, interpersonally and physically. Sustainable infrastructure includes both physical constructs of capital and sources of human capital that contribute to the longevity of a community. Infrastructure serves as the basis for sustained community growth. Initiatives should promote increases in community assets that lead to economic sustainability. Food access, basic human needs, schools, healthcare accessibility, social services, and job access are all essential aspects of sustainable infrastructure, but by no means are an exhaustive list. Priorities should be placed on an increase in community capitals.
Community Sentiment – Community sentiment encompasses enthusiasm, tradition, heritage, identity, and cultural competency. Initiatives should incorporate means for developing and deepening the sense of community pride and engagement within a locality. Fitting within the larger community involves identifying what role individuals play within the larger social scheme, and how individuals serve and are served by the community. Both increasing citizenship and fostering community identity lend to an overall increase in community sentiment.