From your towns to our inbox, notes from South Dakota and North Carolina and more.

“Our Towns” Reader Response Roundup features film screening feedback, a unique effort to support libraries nationwide, and national perceptions being addressed at the local level.


'Our Towns' Viewer Response Roundup

Viewers respond to 'Our Towns' HBO documentary.


The Sport That’s Like Playing in a Jazz Quartet

"Rowing is a sport, everything else is a game."

Economic & Business Development

What happens to small companies now?

The path small, locally conscious firms are taking to survive the current economic and public health disaster.

From the Readers

On the Virtues of Statewide Journalism

Read the story in The Atlantic  here. The Daily Memphian is trying to revive local news in Memphis, Tennessee Sean Pavone via Shutterstock A few days ago I published an item about a year-old online effort to revive local news coverage in Tennessee, The Daily Memphian. It was part of an ongoing series about efforts to revive, reinvent, preserve, […]

Big Little Ideas

Start Planting Trees

Planting trees as part of a green initiative in the southern California town of Redlands. Courtesy of Karen Bell Recently Deb Fallows kicked off a series of “Big Little Ideas”—innovations or reforms that could be applied fairly easily at the local level and that might have cumulatively very important effect. (Thanks to many readers who have written in. […]


The Power of a Community College

Readers weigh in


The American Sense of Place

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

Economic & Business Development

How Danville Has Avoided Omaha’s Mistake

How the bittersweet heritage of old buildings in Danville, Virginia has helped them avoid the mistakes of Omaha..


Can Schools ‘Teach Students to Think’?

A reader's response

Economic & Business Development

Dead Malls, Everywhere

Readers weigh in on malls past their prime

Economic & Business Development

Dead Malls, Reborn Cities

Ideas from the readers

Economic & Business Development

What Happens to Abandoned Malls?

Opinions differ

Economic & Business Development

‘Unknown Outside Indiana’

The previous four “Our Towns” posts have been about Indiana: One about Angola and the importance of its relationship with Trine University; one about Fort Wayne and its ambitious reconstruction of a cavernous abandoned GE works; and two about Muncie, first about sustainability programs and then about a virtually unique approach to the long-troubled public schools. They had a common theme: how surprising it was […]

Economic & Business Development

Cattle Drives in Down East Maine

A cowboy with his herd in Maine, en route to Turkey. courtesy Quoddy Tides Last night my wife Deb put up a report called “Little Town, Big Art.” It’s about how a surprisingly ambitious effort in The Arts—painting, sculpture, photography, drama, music, festivals (like the Pirate Festival underway this weekend), etc.—had given a very small place a much […]

Economic & Business Development

Notes From the Rest of the Country:

'Now That I've Got a Look at This Place, It's Not So Bad!'