Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Policy and Management (PPM)


Public Policy and Management

First Advisor

Prof. Richard Barringer


Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Englang, education, arts, Muskie School of Public Service


Eight case studies across New England offer understanding of the role of the creative economy in the community and economic development of rural towns and small cities. The cases include Providence and Pawtucket, RI; Burlington, VT; and Portland, Bangor, Norway, Dover-Foxcroft, and the St. John Valley, ME. Ten elements or “building blocks” are observed to be important, leading to an explanatory model for the development of the creative economy in small communities. These elements include creative people, education centers, cultural and natural amenities, business engagement, infrastructure, leadership, networks, strategies, time, and money. The creative economy in the eight communities has different dimensions and configurations depending on the diversity of resources and stage of development. Sustainability appears to be a challenge no matter what the population size or level of development. Further research to define elements further and to assess relative strength would improve the potential of the model’s application as a self-assessment tool.