The Rural Cultural Wealth Lab builds metrics to strengthen policymakers’ understanding of the various relationships and assets that define and reveal rural community wealth.

The Lab unites the knowledge and lived experiences of a diverse array of scholars and practitioners to explore the intersection of rural arts and culture, entrepreneurship and innovation, and the role of cultural wealth in the broader Comprehensive Rural Wealth Framework, to create a more robust conceptual framework for understanding the diverse assets within rural communities.

The first phase in the lab’s research was designed to review the scholarly and applied literature on rural arts and culture. Of particular interest was the literature related to rural cultural assets, the nature of social and economic innovation, and the well-being of rural residents. First year Lab products include a series of reports and application of the Rural Wealth Framework.    

This wealth framework incorporates eight distinct types of assets or “capitals.” When taken together, these capitals (a) represent a robust and comprehensive measure of both tangible and intangible wealth, and (b) create the basis for assessing current well-being, as well as for improving the future. These capitals include: physical capital, financial capital, human capital, intellectual capital, political capital, natural capital, social capital, and cultural capital.

All eight types of capital have a role to play in the Rural Cultural Wealth Lab. For the most part, however, the Lab focuses on how cultural capital is created, maintained, distributed, activated, or mobilized in the context of other capitals, in rural communities.


Source: Rural Policy Research Institute

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