America’s Changing Urban Landscape: Positioning Extension for Success

For the Cooperative Extension Service (Extension) to have a substantive urban presence and impact, it will be vital for local Extension staff, state Extension systems, and the national Extension system to understand how to position Extension for success in large metropolitan regions. To do this, Extension should examine its history of working in cities, work to overcome a number of internal barriers or challenges that are defined in Extension literature, and develop a deeper understanding of the unique and complex set of characteristics and features of urban environments.

As Extension does this, it will be important for it to move forward in a manner that ensures it is relevant to local metropolitan residents while being responsive to the needs of communities statewide. It will also be imperative that Extension be recognized locally, statewide, and nationally for its work; however, Extension is not starting from scratch as it has more than a 60-year history of working in cities. Extension should learn from best practices within the numerous strong urban and suburban operational and educational models present in a number of states.