Democratising Economies Through Place-Based Thinking

  • Patricia Inman


The current economy does not have room for everyone. Corporate initiatives have increased the distance between those who thrive and those who are left behind. In contrast, developing a grounded economy using regional strengths and relationships provides an economy of slower groups but also requires a lesser investment, making it easier for all to participate. Local food initiatives are just one type of entrepreneurial activity providing community wealth and dignity. This chapter describes what such an asset-based economy looks like, identifies the collaborative tools needed for the development of such a regional economy and tells the story of successful grounded development. Such an economy grows on the creative talents of citizens and the resources that their regions provide rather than on government intervention for well-being.


  1. Arts Alliance Illinois. (2014, June). The creative economy in Illinois: A report of the Illinois Creative Economy Roundtable. Retrieved from
  2. Cayley, D. (1992). Ivan Illich in conversation. Concord, ON: House of Anansi Press.Google Scholar
  3. Duke, C., Garlick, G., & Inman, P. (2013, July 21–24). Regional, dynamic and important: Report of the PASCAL PURE consultative development following a visit to USQ and DD&SWQ. Retrieved from
  4. Fortier, J. (2014). The market gardener. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Illich, I. (1973). Tools for conviviality. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  6. Inman, P. (2015). Regional food systems as engines for sustainable economies. In L. McDonald & E. O’Shea (Eds.), Social alternatives: Civic roles, random callings: Discerning the university mission (pp. 39–46). Toowoomba, QLD: University of Southern Queensland.Google Scholar
  7. Inman, P., & Swanson, L. (2007). Cities as engines of growth. In M. Osborne, K. Sankey, & B. Wilson (Eds.), Social capital, lifelong learning and the management of place (pp. 181–189). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Jacobs, J. (2005). Dark age ahead. London: Vintage.Google Scholar
  9. Kemmis, D. (1990). Community and the politics of place. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma.Google Scholar
  10. Regional Universities Network. (2013, June). Regional Universities Network: Engaging with regions, building a stronger nation (Vol. 1—report). Canberra, ACT: Author. Retrieved from
  11. Sundstrom, W. A. (1998). The income gap. Retrieved from
  12. United States Census. (2015). American community survey. Retrieved from
  13. United States Department of Agriculture. (2007). Census of agriculture. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  14. Wright, R. (2012, July). Southern Queensland and country regional food & wine development plan. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Inman
    • 1
  1. 1.Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

Personalised recommendations