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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics

Mark Partridge with Tony Lloyd, Member British Parliament and former Mayor of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority before the OECD plenary session at the 57th European Regional Science Conference in the Groningen Netherlands

C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy

The goal of the C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy is to lead a nationally and internationally recognized research and outreach program focused on priority issues related to rural and urban communities and their growth.


Led by Professor Mark Partridge, the Swank Program combines innovative approaches in economic theory, planning, advanced statistical research, and geographical information systems to create products that can be used by the academic community, stakeholders, policymakers, students, and the public. In turn, the Swank Program will help inform and facilitate teaching and student research at Ohio State and elsewhere.

The Swank Program conducts and supports research, teaching, and outreach within the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center; and Ohio State University Extension.

Research: Swank Program research has a public-policy focus on issues that have tangible impacts on the people of Ohio and the U.S. Our goal is to create academic research that is internationally recognized and policy briefs that summarize that work in a digestible manner for the public, policymakers, and other stakeholders. While the range of important issues related to rural and urban communities is vast, the Swank Program is currently considering the following issues in Ohio and the U.S.:

  • Regional community economic growth
  • Community governance and related policy tools for development
  • The pattern and pace of development, including infrastructure provision
  • Amenity led growth of natural and urban amenities
  • The quality of rural, exurban, and urban life
  • Poverty and income inequality in the wake of the Great Recession

Teaching: Our insights from research are integrated into the teaching program at OSU and will also inform teaching at institutions elsewhere. A variety of OSU graduate and undergraduate classes will expose students to the implications and policy choices related to rural and urban communities. Many of our key findings will be developed by undergraduate and graduate student projects and internships.

Outreach: The Swank Program aims to provide useful information to impacted communities, policymakers, professionals, stakeholders and residents. This information will be disseminated in a variety of ways including presentations, public policy briefs, and media reports. OSU Extension is a primary vehicle for our outreach efforts.

The Process: This policy program encourages professional interaction in rural and urban policy matters. We support workshops, seminars, conferences, and discussions that include diverse groups that share common goals. We will seek formal collaboration with other institutes, centers, researchers, and governments that are interested in rural and urban policy issues.


COLUMBUS OH, A policy brief just released by The C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy attempts to answer the question of why some rural communities thrive and others might lag behind by examining two rural-Ohio success stories: Holmes and Mercer Counties.

AEDE's first in-person Outlook and Policy Conference since 2019 was a huge success! The conference was held on November 15, 2022, at the 4H Center on Ohio State Campus. Below are links to the presentations by the AEDE faculty.