The eight forms of community wealth, Part 1: Built capital

There are eight forms of community wealth that, when working together, enhance economic development in rural communities. This article focuses on one of those forms: built capital.

In a previous article we discussed WealthWorks, a program provided through Yellow Wood Associates. The WealthWorks approach incorporates eight forms of community wealth to holistically address economic development in rural communities. The first form of community wealth is built capital.

Built capital is everything in a community that comprises its fully functioning constructed infrastructure.

Built capital includes buildings, sewer treatment plants, manufacturing and processing plants, energy, transportation, communications infrastructure, technology and other built assets. Investment in physical capital is in construction, renovation and maintenance. Physical capital depreci­ates with use and requires ongoing investment to maintain its value.

The income or earnings generated by physical capital exist only in relation to its use. For example, sewer and water treatment plants contribute to human capital (health). Schools contribute to human capital (skill development) and social capital (if they are used as community gathering places) and may contribute to natural capital (if they include natural areas that are maintained or pro­tected by the school).

A West Michigan team has recently completed their WealthWorks training and has begun project development and implementation, focusing on trails and pathways. A Michigan State University Extension educator is part of this team, serving in the role of coordinator.

Thank you to Yellow Wood Associates who provided permission for use of their materials. To learn how to register for upcoming WealthWorks training programs, contact Yellow Wood Associates.

Learn about the other forms of community wealth:

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