BGSU Reimagining Rural Regions (R3) Initiative
The Reimagining Rural Regions (R3) Initiative is a community-driven, student-supported placemaking planning and capacity- building project developed by the Center for Regional Development (CRD) at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and funded through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) University Center program and the USDA Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge. Rural communities face significant challenges in attracting and retaining young workers, who increasingly are making decisions on where they will based on the amenities, assets, and experiences available in communities.
The R3 Initiative provides expertise and capacity to assist rural communities in undertaking a placemaking process to identify assets that could be reimagined to improve quality of life and to aid in the retention and attraction of talent. In Phase 1 of the R3 Initiative, CRD staff and graduate students work with a steering committee in each community to conduct a robust public engagement process to develop a placemaking plan that identifies assets to be enhanced or developed to develop a unique sense of place. In Phase 2 of the process, CRD develops teams of BGSU undergraduate students, known as Placemaking and Community Engagement (PaCE) Fellows to undergo an extensive semester-long training program and begin work to implement projects or strategies identified by the community in the placemaking plan. The first cohort of R3 communities are currently completing their placemaking plans and will begin implementation on their selected projects in the Summer of 2022. Additionally, CRD is in the process of selecting three additional communities for the second cohort of the R3 Initiative.