Rural Exchange

Community Wealth Building

Community Wealth Building is key economic policy for the Scottish Government.   We are researching the development and implementation of this policy, and particularly what lessons are emerging from rural and island Scotland.

Since a commitment in the 2020 Programme for Government, Community Wealth Building has been implemented in a number of ways in Scotland.  This includes through the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, in the National Planning Framework 4, and in local authority and regional pilots. The Government is introducing a Community Wealth Building Bill in this parliament, by 2026.  Community Wealth Building has been adopted by public, private, and community organisations, with practice ranging from public body uptake (like South of Scotland Enterprise's work on affordable housing and creative place-making)  to community-led collaborations (like Whale Arts and North Edinburgh Arts' "Create Community Wealth project"). 

Community Wealth Building is a practical means to economic development;  you can find a more detailed explanation here.  Community-led local development in Scotland's rural and island communities is longstanding,  with community-led anchor organisations like social enterprise  building community wealth for decades.  It's been argued that current community wealth building practice builds on older inclusive development strategies,  like micro enterprises, volunteering, community landownership and crofting.

We are investigating Community Wealth Building as part of our research on economic development for the Strategic Research programmeIn our research we are asking questions like:  What learning is there from the pilot projects and national policy?  How does  community-led work interact with the policy approaches being implemented by local, regional and national authorities?  Is a unique development model emerging from rural and island Scotland?  Our work so far has included a review of rural and island community wealth building, and international perspectives.  In 2024/2025  we will be researching the pilots and emerging good practice,  and developing an evaluation framework.   

Further Reading

More within the Community Wealth Building project


What is Community Wealth Building?

"Community wealth building reorganises local economies to ensure they are best placed to tackle the inequalities and disadvantages that are now, more than ever, so acutely felt by people across...[more]


CWB UK Case Studies

These examples showcase diverse approaches to fostering community wealth, economic resilience, and local empowerment. They emphasise the importance of inclusive economic practices that benefit the community as a whole.



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