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Sumners, Joe A. & Linda Hoke. 2012. Community Questions: Engaging Citizens to Address Community Concerns.
Community Questions is a tool designed to help community leaders create spaces where citizens can tackle pressing community concerns. The strategy is to bring citizens into a deliberative process to identify the heart of community problems, identify options for addressing the problem, weigh costs, benefits, and action, and engage others in working toward a solution. This guide takes leaders through all of the necessary steps, including preparation, citizen engagement, defining problems and solutions, planning for action, and reflection. The guide should not be viewed as merely an exercise to deal with specific issues, but as a means for promoting a shared discovery among citizens about their power to effectively deal with public issues.
Sumners, J. A., & Lee, L. (2004). Crossroads and Connections: Strategies for Rural Alabama. Auburn, AL: Auburn University.
This publication offers solutions to some of the problems in Alabama's rural counties -- double-digit unemployment, low percentages of high school graduates and low household income -- defined in the authors' earlier work, Beyond the Interstate: The Crisis in Rural Alabama.
Sumners and Lee state that there are many excellent people, programs and projects at the state and community levels, but often individuals and organizations work independently rather than in collaboration with each other.
"We are accustomed to working on the equivalent of one-way streets. We need more crossroads," said Sumners.
"State-level support and coordination for rural development are desperately needed and partnerships are essential," write Sumners and Lee. "But the real work of rural development must take place within each individual community. Successful rural communities don't wait around for someone else to solve their problems. They get to work. And they work together."
Sumners, J. A., & Lee, L. (2003). Beyond the Interstate: The Crisis in Rural Alabama. Auburn, AL: Auburn University.
Beyond the Interstate was written to call attention to a problem that had been ignored too long - the crisis in rural Alabama.
According to the authors, many of the problems faced by Alabama's rural communities are systemic and offer few easy solutions. Sumners and Lee suggest that this is probably why state and local leaders have been reluctant to step up to the plate to confront these challenges.
However, according to the authors, "the problems are getting worse and the needs of 1.3 million Alabamians can no longer be ignored."
Beyond the Interstate was written in an attempt to highlights some important issues and provide general suggestions for reform. Sumners and Lee explain, "Our hope is that this paper stimulates informed discussion about Alabama rural development and serves as a call to action."
Sumners, J. A., McKenzie, R., & Minor, R. (2005, July). Listening to Rural Alabama: A Report on the Alabama Rural Prosperity Forums. Auburn, AL: Auburn University.
Listening to Rural Alabama is a descriptive account of deliberative forums held in Alabama in conjunction with the Southern Growth Policy Board (SGPB).
From January through March 2005, the Auburn University Economic Development Institute (EDI) and the Alabama Center for Civic Life (ACCL) conducted rural prosperity forums throughout the State of Alabama.
Fourteen Alabama communities conducted fifteen forums, and SGPB-conducted a focus group in Selma, which involved 40 participants. Approximately 430 citizens participated in these opportunities.
EDI/ACCL moderators and recorders made careful notes that capture more about community concerns and political will than can be gleaned from aggregating individual responses. This data, along with observations by EDI/ACCL moderators and recorders, form the basis for this report about rural prosperity forums conducted in Alabama.
Stehouwer, A. H., & Sumners, J. a. (2008, September). Alabama Economic Development Resource Directory. Auburn, AL: Auburn University.
This directory includes resources and entities involved in community and / or economic development activities in Alabama. This 238-page directory includes hundreds of resources divided by the various components and activities involved in community and economic development.
The link at the left leads to the ECDI resource directory webpage, where visitors can download the directory in its entirety or by category.
ECDI plans to conduct this economic development survey every four to five years to measure changes in Alabama’s local economic development environment. As we prepare for the next survey, we welcome your comments and suggestions.
CLICK HERE to view the 2001 Alabama Local Economic Development Survey report.
Sumners, J. a., Stehouwer, A. h., DeWitt, H. S., & McDaniel, J. L. (2006). Alabama Local Economic Development Survey 2006. Auburn, AL: Auburn University.
This report are based on responses to mail surveys conducted by EDI during 2005-06. It provides a wealth of information about economic development planning, organization, practices, and needs in Alabama’s communities. This publication presents data from both 2001 and 2006 and notes trends and changes in local economic development practices and policies during this time period.
Two separate surveys are reported. An economic development survey of municipalities was mailed to all city clerks of Alabama municipalities with populations greater than 1,000. An economic development questionnaire for counties was mailed to all 67 county administrators.
The information presented herein provides a baseline of valuable information that can be used by ECDI, its project partners (the Alabama League of Municipalities, the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama, the Alabama Association of Regional Councils, and the Economic Development Association of Alabama), and others to tailor programs and services to the economic development needs of Alabama’s communities.
The following publications address Auburn University programs and initiatives that support Alabama's economy.
Stehouwer, A. h., Sumners, J. a., McDaniel, J. l., & DeWitt, H. s. (2005). Auburn University Supporting Alabama's Economy. Auburn, AL: Auburn University.
Supporting Alabama’s Economy documents and describes Auburn University outreach and research programs - from a wide range of disciplines - that are making a significant positive impact on the state’s economy and quality of life.
This publication was designed to serve as a valuable resource for citizens, communities, and regions who might benefit from the programs and services of Auburn University.
Stehouwer, A. h., & Sumners, J. A. (2006, October). I-85 Asset Inventory. Auburn, AL: Auburn University.
The Alabama I-85 Corridor consists of counties surrounding Interstate-85 from Montgomery to the Alabama-Georgia state line. This region includes: Bullock, Chambers, Elmore, Lee, Macon, Montgomery, Russell, and Tallapoosa Counties.
The I-85 Asset Inventory offers a detailed listing and brief description of the region's government and education institutions, economic attributes and resources, tourism attractions and other amenities. The I-85 Corridor Alliance hopes to build upon these assets to strengthen communities along the Corridor and to promote growth and development throughout the region.
Last Updated: January 28, 2013