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Rural Needs, Statewide Answers Webinar: Living in the Middle of Everywhere

Wednesday, August 28, 2024, 12:00–1:00 pm


About the Event

The notion that rural residents live “in the middle of nowhere” perpetuates a negative narrative that is not based on the reality of community life. Modern life is complex, as we live, work, shop, and play in a wide region. At the same time, most of our planning is done at a city or county level. 

In this webinar, rural sociologist Ben Winchester will discuss this dynamic and its implications for tourism, marketing, transportation planning, resident recruitment, and housing. He will also review an asset-based community development exercise that can help us better understand this web of regional activity as it varies by age and interest.

The webinar is being held as part of CTS's Rural Needs, Statewide Answers: Improving Transportation for All Communities thematic focus in 2024. 


Ben Winchester
Ben Winchester

Benjamin Winchester is a rural sociologist with the Department of Community Development at University of Minnesota Extension. Ben has been working both in and for small towns across the Midwest for over 25 years. He conducts applied research on economic, social, and demographic topics surrounding the theme of “rewriting the rural narrative.” He recently received the international Rural Renewal Research Prize in 2021 for this work. Ben lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota, with his wife and two children. 


This webinar is free to attend, but registration is required. Once you have registered, you will receive an email confirmation with a Zoom link. The link should not be shared with others; it is unique to you.

Please let us know how we can ensure that this webinar is inclusive to you. What accommodations or access needs can we help facilitate? Contact Samantha Hahn-Douville at when you register to help us provide you with the best access.

If you're unable to join us for the live broadcast, a recording of the webinar will be available here after the event.

More Information

Please contact Samantha Hahn-Douville at