'We Fly,' in Indiana

It's time to judge colleges by their contributions to the economic and civic life of their communities. Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, passes the test brilliantly.


Story Maps are at the Center of Community Collaboration in Kent, Ohio

New digital tools give communities innovative and engaging ways to tell their own stories. In Kent, Ohio, a community-wide collaboration among Kent State University, Main Street Kent, and the Kent Historical Society & Museum uses story maps to teach residents about the town's rich history. 


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.


The Local Tavern: The Tradition Continues at Max Taps-Centennial

Entrepreneurship. Gatherings of friends and colleagues. Industry leadership. Great American traditions. These are prime ingredients of successful local community taprooms. And there's a new one in Centennial, Colorado building community.


“Ally-Shore” to Restore U.S. Economic Leadership and Protect Democracy

"Allyshoring" offers the United States benefits locally, nationally, and internationally. What is "allyshoring," why does it matter? Why is it important now? Elaine Dezenski and John Austin explain.


Max Taps Supports Marshall Fire Victims

In the wake of one of the costliest fires in U.S. history, a local establishment is leading a local response effort to support those in need.


Today, there is a tale of two Midwests.

Some communities have made the transition to a new, thriving economy in a changed world. Others are still struggling.


Tighe Bullock is working to building a vibrant, attractive downtown in West Virginia’s capital city.

Revitalizing Charleston, West Virginia Brick by Brick

Economic & Business Development

From Military Service to Civilian Leadership

Read the story in The Atlantic here. Courtesy of NationSwell Here’s another installment in the chronicle of people who are trying to take up the slack, while the national government flails rather than coping with a pandemic. Previously in this series: innovations from libraries; changes in a statewide program in California; and responses from a nationwide nonprofit network. (To […]

Economic & Business Development

The University of Dayton Is Reinventing Town-Gown Relations

Archway Entrance for the University of Dayton, in Ohio. “The city is in our name,” says the university’s president. “It’s our future.” (Courtesy of the University of Dayton) It’s time for another report on Dayton, Ohio, subject of this introduction last month. A century ago, Dayton was known mainly for the things it created, from the Wright Brothers’ […]

Immigrants & Refugees

Ajo, Arizona, is the story of a better America

The village of Ajo, Arizona near the Organ Pipe cactus national monument   Deborah Fallows is the co-author with her husband, Atlantic writer James Fallows, of “Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America.” An HBO documentary based on the book is currently in production. Fallows is also a fellow at New America. […]

Economic & Business Development

The Modern Women of Rural America

Read the story in The Atlantic here. The author’s sister (on lap), mother (left), great-aunt (rear), and great-grandmother in rural Minnesota, circa 1947 (Courtesy of Susan Zerad Garau) Along the way of our reporting for American Futures and Our Towns, I ran into the stories of some remarkable women—living and dead. Eliza Tibbets, who planted the first navel oranges in […]

Economic & Business Development

Three Big Lessons From One Small Town

Connections, parallel themes, and lessons from Danville


The American Sense of Place

An update: Reactions from readers and significant local-renewal developments

Economic & Business Development

When Small Towns Take the Big Stage

Connecting Ajo, Columbus, and Erie

Economic & Business Development

Report for America Revives Possibilities for Local Journalism

A promising movement, in discouraging times.