ENVIRONMENT & SUSTAINABILITY

What's the Quickest Way to Make a Big Difference, Through a Little Step? It's Right There in the Backyard.

Change comes slowly, then all at once.

CIVIC LIFE

To Both See and Tell the Country: From the Road through North Carolina to South Carolina

Why seeing more of America matters.

ARTS

An Outsider Works with Insiders: Examples from Akron and Cleveland

Mac Love, who has spent much of his life outside Ohio, uses new technologies to bring community residents and college students together. That collaborative approach is now helping citizens’ voices be heard and is driving meaningful change in their neighborhoods.   

BIG LITTLE IDEAS

Inside Our Towns: Project Fighting Chance

Evan Sanford and James Fallows talk with Ian Franklin and Terry Boykins about Project Fighting Chance -- a boxing gym that is more than a boxing gym in San Bernardino. They discuss how it got started, how it has grown, and an immediate challenge it faces today.

RURAL & REGIONAL

Q&A: How to Support Rural Students Pursuing Higher Education

Matt Newlin is a higher education consultant and founder of the podcast The Rural College Student Experience. He advocates for rural students pursuing college.

EDUCATION

Now is the Time for Reflection on Public Education

How can community-level education serve as the enabler for self-government? A look at our country’s past may offer the best answers for our future.

HEALTH

A Safe Place to Talk: Raising HIV Awareness through Barbershops

Barbershops are often hubs for conversation in Black and Latinx communities. DKBmed’s Fade Out HIV initiative strives to make use of these gathering spots to destigmatize HIV education and save lives.

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

Never Too Soon: Engaging America’s Youngest Citizens Early and Often

Americans know that retaining their young people requires getting them involved in the civic process early and often.

GEOJOURNALISM

Why Story Maps Matter

People understand the world through stories. People absorb their stories in ever-expanding ways. Here is a preview of a powerful, emerging form of digital story-telling, which we’ll be using frequently in this space.

CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT

Fountains of Youth for Towns

The life and spirit of any town or city depend on its ability to attract and retain people. In a time when many worry about brain drain, how communities keep their young people, or bring them back, or attract newcomers illustrates a place's sense of and attention to renewal.

INVENTION & RENEWAL

Revitalizing a community by focusing on 'quality of life'

Galesburg residents are redefining the heart and soul of the town by bringing their unique history and heritage to the fore.

COLLABORATIONS & PARTNERSHIPS

A New Partnership: Community Heart & Soul

Community Heart & Soul and Our Towns Civic Foundation are collaborating to bring national attention to the stories of innovation and renewal in small cities and towns across the United States.

TOWN HISTORY & STORY

Building Bridges Within and Among Communities Through Stories

Not all bridges are physical. The ways communities are connecting with one another, and themselves, is happening differently in light of COVID-19 and with new tools like OurStoryBridge: an online platform that captures and houses community stories.

CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT

The Past, the Future, the Present: Updates from Coast to Coast

A Fellow named, college services goes big, and scenes from a Day of Enlightened Living -- here are three updates on stories we've been following on this site over the years.

CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT

Bringing a City Together: How Leaf Blowers Did It

This is the story of how citizens worked together toward a common goal in Washington, D.C. The story involves a change on the local level with significant, positive implications for other parts of the country and beyond.

BIG LITTLE IDEAS

Three community leaders come together to tell the stories of American renewal in their towns.

What do Ajo, Arizona; Eastport, Maine; and Charleston, West Virginia have in common? The answer leads down a rural path.