Unlocking Potential

At-risk youth in North Carolina hold the keys to flipping a decommissioned prison into a sustainable farm and community asset.


Kershaw invests in community with new ideas in old spaces

A train depot that’s a museum. A bank branch building that’s become a library. Another former bank that is serving as an early education center. Here is how this South Carolina town is repurposing buildings of the past to build up its future.


'To Arrive Where We Started and Know the Place for the First Time'

The America that Americans Don't Know About, and Why That Matters


Past, Present, and Future on the Water: Using StoryMaps to Explore Bucksport, Maine

What does a mile-long stretch along the Penobscot River tell the walker about Bucksport, Maine? As it turns out, a lot.


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.


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.


How River Walks Make a Community

Bucksport's waterfront is a major natural asset for the Maine town. And along it runs Bucksport's Walkway. Here's a look at the river walk and why it matters.


Cooperation, Calm, and Competence: This Is How It Sounds

In the skies over Dulles airport last week, pilots and controllers gave an example of grace under pressure.


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.


The Local Tavern: A Glimpse of America’s Past Present Today

One of the most important things modern America shares with the people who founded the country is the sense of community and fellowship that comes with sharing time at the local tavern.


The Quiet Competence That Makes the Country Run

Being "inside the clouds" is stressful. But when you break into the clear, you see things you might not have noticed before. A view of the "soft skills" part of America's human infrastructure, and their difference from those in China and elsewhere.


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.

Leaders & Governance

Why Biden’s Inaugural Address Succeeded

In 20 minutes, the president signaled how he will approach this job and this moment in history.


The Sport That’s Like Playing in a Jazz Quartet

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


‘A Most Beautiful Thing’ in a Time of Racial Reckoning

This film's story would be surprising and engrossing at any time, but it has a current power and relevance its producers could not have foreseen when they began making it.

Economic & Business Development

How a Small Brewery Can Survive COVID-19

A bellwether business category, figuring out how and whether it can survive.