Local Institutions

Looking at Libraries

Read the story in The Atlantic  here. A “fly-brary,” courtesy of the Deschutes Public Library, at the Redmond, Oregon, airport. (Courtesy of Deborah Fallows) Continuing the photo essay about public libraries, which showed many examples of children’s rooms and adult spaces, this collection shows some of the multitude of activities happening at public libraries. It also includes some […]

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

With the PBS NewsHour

in Greenville, SC

Economic & Business Development

A Public Library Tells the Civic Story of a Town

Greenville's public library puts its past and present on full display: mills, racial history, internationalism, public-private collaborations, and culture.


Tech Meets Art in Middle School

A South Carolina public school gives tech-savvy students a sense of humanity.

Economic & Business Development

A Song of America’s Downtowns

A heartening surprise of our travel so far: the breadth, seriousness, and—in some places—success of the effort to revitalize small-town downtowns. Or, what 3 programmers from Uzbekistan taught us about America.


‘Where Do You Go to Church?’ The Video and Mapping Versions

More ways of taking the measure of this vast country.

Leaders & Governance

The Vermont Lake Monsters, and Other Updates From the Road

Are people in smaller towns "nicer" than cosmopolitans? No. But their political structures are working better.


Greenville, Burlington, and American Futures

"I loathed it with the heat of a thousand million suns."


What My School Means to Me: Essays from 3 High Schoolers

How students at an unusual school think—and write—about their experience.

Economic & Business Development

The Parks and Recreation Theory of America’s Future

What we discuss at the national level has surprisingly little to do with startup decisions. Some provocative data about where America is growing, and why.


Dreaming Big in South Carolina:

A Public Boarding School for the Arts

Reports From America

Dadgum! Katy, Bar the Door!

Speaking Your Mind in South Carolina

Economic & Business Development

Smaller-Town Startups: ‘Stopping the Brain Drain’ in SC

'People say, this is my ticket Out.' Then, they want to stay.


America’s Tiniest Engineers:

Report From Greenville, South Carolina

Parks, Rec & Fun

In Which I Develop New Respect for the Wedding-Industrial Comple

We know that football players are brave. But spare a thought as well for bride-magazine models.