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.

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.



As we've traveled around the country with our American Futures and Our Towns projects since 2013, my husband, Jim, and I have evolved from being skeptics to evangelists about the impact of public arts on communities.

Economic & Business Development

How a City Talks About Itself

Sioux Falls in 2019


Language as Art in Pittsburgh

Exiled writers use words as art and inspire a community.


A Word Cloud of Ajo, Arizona

The words we use about ourselves reveal surprising truths


A New Vocabulary for American Towns

Three 21st-century words that are driving the nation's most dynamic municipalities

Reports From America


Dipthongs turn into monopthongs, and other adventures among the cypress knees.

Reports From America

The Word Cloud of a Town

How the people of Sioux Falls describe themselves and their hometown

From the Readers

Why We Never Get Over High School

Across the nation, people have different questions they ask when meeting someone new. There are hidden meanings in all of them -- including a popular one about schooling.

Reports From America

What We Mean When We Say Hello

The curious geography of American greetings


So, Where Do You Live? What Do You Do?

Read the story in The Atlantic  here.   When we were in Greenville SC recently, I was surprised to learn that a very common follow-up to the greeting of “How do you do?” or “Nice to meet you,” is the question “Where do you go to church?” I wrote about it here. Lots of you wrote […]

Reports From America

Dadgum! Katy, Bar the Door!

Speaking Your Mind in South Carolina

Reports From America

‘Springbok, Cleared for Landing’:

More on the Language of the Skies

Reports From America

Do You Speak Eastport?

A town teaches itself to talk positive.

From the Readers

EATNN TTUNA SNWCH – hold (at) MAYYO: More on the Secret Language

"The approach fixes, in order, are TRAMP, FLOZY, SILKY, and JAKOR. I'm sensing a pattern here but would love to know the back story."