What Makes it Rural?

The Rural Ontario Institute (formerly The Ontario Rural Council)

Year: 2003

What Makes it Rural? is a process to help organizations articulate rural ‘assets’ and rural ‘wants’ and ‘make their case’ to decision-makers.

1. WHEN to use this process

When you are undertaking visioning exercises, looking for access to capital, trying to make connections with new groups, planning for the future, preparing policy to support programs, serving clients or deciding investment strategies, this will:

  • Help you consider rural Ontario as a place of diversity and opportunity.
  • Help you describe the broader experience of ‘rural’. Consider rural qualities on a continuum or as reflecting a range of characteristics to share with others the richness of the rural regions of Ontario.
  • Help you identify what is valued and should be respected and fostered.

2. HOW to use this process

What Makes It Rural? is organized into six sections. Use those sections that apply to your organization or business, and consider responses that reflect your perspective. The process is simple: consider the statements and questions from the six sections in light of the diverse communities and geography within rural and northern Ontario. The intent of this process is to provide a starting point to understand the complexity of ‘rural’ and help you articulate this complexity to others. Consider your audience as you work your way through this process.

3. WHO should use this process?

  • Rural organizations
  • Organizations with an Ontario-wide mandate
  • Funders and fundraisers
  • Government representatives and government relations staff
  • Rural strategists for business
  • Rural constituents who need to describe their ‘rurality’ to decision-makers
  • Other…

4. WHY use this process?

  • Mobilize rural organizations and their members to represent rural interests
  • Generate consistent application of a ‘checklist’ by decision-makers
  • Solidify ideas about what makes ‘rural’ rural
  • Build knowledge within rural organizations
  • Start the rural/urban dialogue

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