Our Rural Planning team provides economic development planning and related assistance to rural communities across the state. Part of the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center, the Rural Planning program has staff members based in each North Carolina Prosperity Zone.

Services Offered

Strategic Economic Development Planning & Implementation Services

  • One-day strategic planning workshops
  • Two-day economic development assessments
  • Five-year strategic plan and program development
  • Implementation plan development
  • Resource identification


Technical Support

  • Assistance with a wide range of community and economic development needs (planning for high impact areas or development policy review, for example)
  • Community-specific assistance (geospatial analysis & mapping to evaluate economic opportunities or developing solutions to address particular economic development issues or needs, for example)


Training and Education

  • Workshops and other training opportunities
  • Research and information-sharing (regarding best practices and success stories, for example)

For more information about Rural Planning program services or to discuss your community's specific needs, please contact Karen Smith, Rural Planning Program Manager, at ksmith@commerce.nc.gov, or the Prosperity Zone planner assigned to your region (contact information can be found here).