Reshaping rural development through knowledge clusters : the case of Danville and Southside, Virginia
Author(s)Pierson, Andrew Stuart (Andrew Drew Stuart)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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This thesis examines challenges and implications associated with implementing knowledge-based economic development strategies in rural regions, focusing on the City of Danville in Southside Virginia. In 2000, Danville became the focal point of a major technology-based regional economic development initiative designed to transition southern Virginia away from its traditional base of agriculture and manufacturing towards information and high-tech (IHT). The initiative garnered significant support of the state and outside institutions, and was designed to encourage local firm formation, attract private capital, and improve infrastructure to foster innovation as a driver of rural economic growth. Patterns in job growth, firm relocation, and plant closure data were analyzed for the City of Danville from 1990-2013 to discern whether investments in knowledge economy infrastructure resulted in diversification into IHT; and if so, to what extent and how. Drawing on elements of the rural knowledge cluster framework, which states that knowledge and innovation provide important sources of rural competitive advantage (Munnich et al. 2002), contributing projects are summarized to lend perspective on overall theory of change guiding the rural economic development strategy in Southside. The thesis concludes with an analysis of social and economic impacts concurrent with knowledge economy investments; challenges and constraints facing the Danville strategy to date; and recommendations to improve economic development practice in Danville based on implications of the data.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 104-109).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.