This study focuses on networking and collaboration between communities along the I29 corridor in eastern South Dakota and its effect on economic development. The study evaluated the corridor model of economic development which involves communities working together toward a more effective means of economic development. This study was conducted as a case study and evaluated whether the corridor model of economic development would work in the sparsely populated area of eastern South Dakota.
There was one main research question and four sub-questions used to determine if the corridor model of economic development could overcome the sparsely populated areas of South Dakota. The research question was: Will the corridor model of economic development, with its underpinnings in network theory, overcome the sparsely populated areas of South Dakota in order to be implemented by community members to foster economic growth? The sub-questions were: Is the corridor model possible in a rural setting? Is it possible along the I29 corridor? Are all the elements of the corridor model present in the communities? Is networking, a critical element in the adoption of the model, affected by the sparsely populated location?
The study presented the history of economic development and rural development and how they work together to foster rural economic development. It then investigated the framework of the corridor model of economic development, its historical influences and its elements. Each concept was identified and developed and both planning and trust were introduced to show their significance in the effective implementation of the model.
Two theories, network theory and actor network theory, were presented as a basis for the corridor model of economic development. Network theory was broken down into two key frames of reference: relationships and ties. Actor network theory was explained and was used as a theoretical research framework to focus on technology, an element in the corridor model. A model was created that represented the corridor model of economic development with its foundation in network theory, its key concepts of space, knowledge transfer, technology and collaboration and the critical role trust and planning play in the process.
The triangulation of methods, qualitative, quantitative and network analysis was used in this research to increase its validity.
The findings were broken into two sections. The first pertained to crosscommunity relationships and the second pertained to networking ties. The analysis and conclusion answered the research question and the four sub-questions. The analysis also provided strategies that would assist the implementation of the corridor model of economic development.