Small Town and Rural Economic Development: A Case Studies Approach

By Peter V. Schaeffer; Scott Loveridge | Go to book overview
at the same time, pursuing economic development. Networks both within the coast and to outside groups have been strengthened, and new complementary relationships have developed. While social institutions are plentiful on the coast, the development of networks that facilitate dynamic community adjustment to challenging issues are a key element to increasing the area's social infrastructure. The centralized nature of the political system seems to make change overwhelming for Hawaii's disadvantaged communities, reinforcing the need for private and public sector collaboration.This case study outlines how a single project involving private and public sector collaborators assisted in developing the social capital of the Wai'anae Coast. As efforts continue to mandate or promote economic development, more care must be given to promoting the development of social infrastructure, including defining the role of outsiders. As people come into a community from the outside, focusing their efforts to emphasize facilitation and the discovery of community assets is likely to prove more successful at building sustainable social capital. In the case of the Ua Mau project, formal partnerships were formed with the University of Hawaii and the Wai'anae community through an agreement with the QLCC and four departments at the university. These relationships were qualitatively different from past arrangements. In the past, professionals worked in the community as researchers or as experts. In this case, the community demanded a different role and as a result, the relationships between community organizations and external organizations emphasized a facilitative role rather than a "helping" or expert role. The assistance of outside professionals is important, but in an assets approach, professionals build on existing strengths and help community members to empower themselves.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FROM THE EDITORS
1. In this case study, planning a tourism event is the basis for improving local capacity. Would planning a festival always help build local social capital?
2. One of the initiatives in this case study had to do with encouraging making and selling crafts. People rarely get rich selling crafts. Why should this kind of activity be subsidized?
3. Most participants in the festival come from nearby. Is it still tourism when participants are local? Why or why not?
4. Compare the approach to tourism in this community to the discussion of tourism in Utah by Albrecht.

NOTES
1.
In other words, there are strong social networks present.
2.
These policy shifts can be considered as the legitimization of alternatives.
3.
In other words, these are efforts to mobilize resources.

-197-

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