The New Economy Network is a group of local citizens that focuses on sustainable economic development and transition in Southwest Virginia’s coalfields.
The New Economy Network serves as an open forum for groups and individuals engaged in economic development, diversification, and transition work in the seven counties in far Southwest Virginia. The network is open to any person who is interested in participating and who shares our common principles. To join, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Google Group.
Current Focus Areas
The New Economy Network is focusing on increasing equitable land access, making local government more transparent and facilitating access to housing in Southwest Virginia.
Increasing Equitable Land Access
Central Appalachia has a long history of inequitable distribution of land ownership and the under-taxation of large, out-of-state landholding corporations. The network is dedicated to hosting a variety of events, speakers and local officials in hopes of inspiring actions to dismantle this historic problem.
Access to Housing
The network seeks to aid folks in their search for affordable and accessible housing. With an aging housing inventory and rising costs, it’s important for our workforce to be able to find housing without being overly burdened. To that end, we are working with local housing stakeholders to increase the number of homes on the market.
Making Local Government More Transparent
Our local governments are incredibly important when it comes to applying for grants, building productive partnerships, and creating a vision for SWVA. With that in mind, network participants want to ensure that there is as much transparency as possible surrounding government offices so that all residents are empowered to participate in local government. One of our goals is to co-host a candidate forum for the upcoming Wise County Circuit Court Clerk election.
Participants in the New Economy Network agree that these common principles bring us together and guide the conversations and actions we take as a group:
- Sustainable economic growth and development is necessarily intertwined with sound environmental stewardship.
- Issues of economic and environmental justice should always be considered and valued when making decisions about the future of our region.
- We are stronger through collaboration.
- Everyone’s voice and perspective is important and will be given equal consideration in discussions and decisions.
Founding members have outlined four bedrock goals for the network:
- To provide a space for individuals across our region to collaborate and share information on issues relevant to the scope of NEN.
- To elevate our commonly held issues on a regional and state level, and to influence decision-makers to include the perspective of local communities and stakeholders in their economic policies.
- To build community-level power and influence by representing the New Economy network throughout the state and region as a collaborative of individuals/groups that speaks for and lifts up our commonly held principles and goals.
- To grow the number of interested and engaged individuals who actively participate in the network.
In 2021, the New Economy Network has decided to focus on advancing cooperative businesses, increasing equitable land access, and promoting higher education opportunities in Southwest Virginia.
The network meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. to discuss upcoming events and actions. Stay up-to-date by joining our email group.
2023 Monthly NEN meetings: January 18, February 15, March 15, April 19, May 17, June 14, July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 1, December 20.
Planning for 2022 with the New Economy Network
In our special end-of-the-year event, all Southwest Virginians were invited to come together virtually to discuss how the network can support sustainable economic development in 2022 and to start collaborating on a path to success in the coalfields’ emerging new economy.