Small Cities

Time to Reinvent College Towns?

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By Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill

For much of their history college towns have been seen primarily as “pass through” communities servicing a young population that cycles in and out of the community. But more recently, certain college communities have grown into “knowledge-based” hot spots --- Raleigh-Durham, Madison, Cambridge and the area around Stanford University --- which have been able to not only retain some graduates but attract knowledge workers and investors from the rest of the country.

But a large proportion of college towns do not seem to be doing so well.  read more »

Minnesota's Iron Range Colleges Attracting Business

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Being a college president for thirteen years convinced me of the importance of addressing the interdependence between a campus and its town. Inspired by my third presidency, I saw the need to brand a strategy needed to revitalize community.

We gathered 90 stakeholder partners for a full day meeting at Ironworld, a discovery center for the region to preserve its rich heritage and history. The local residents focused efforts on a place-based institution with the capacity to serve as a catalyst for pulling up the towns across Northeast Minnesota. That was in November, 2000.  read more »

America is More Small Town than We Think

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America has become an overwhelmingly metropolitan nation. According to the 2000 census, more than 80 percent of the nation’s population resided in one of the 350 combined metropolitan statistical areas. It is not surprising, therefore, that “small town” America may be considered as becoming a burdensome anachronism.

Nothing could be further from the truth. America is more “small town” than we often think, particularly in how we govern ourselves.  read more »

Paper to Paperless: Realigning the Stars

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The paper and pulp industry has been good to Wisconsin, the number one papermaking state in the nation. Wisconsin produces more than 5.3 million tons of paper and over a million tons of paperboard annually. The pulp and paper industry employs more than 35,000 people in the state representing roughly eight percent of all manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin. These are good jobs with good benefits. Papermakers earn over 20 percent more than the manufacturing sector average and over 50 percent more than the average wage in the state.  read more »

Rural America could bring boon to Dems

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By Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill

Perhaps no geography in America is as misunderstood as small towns and rural areas. Home to no more than one in five Americans, these areas barely register with the national media except for occasional reports about the towns’ general decrepitude, cultural backwardness and inexorable decline.

Yet in reality this part of America is far more diverse, and in many areas infinitely more vital, than the big-city-dominated media suspects. In fact, there are many demographic and economic dynamics that make this part of America far more competitive this year than in the recent past.  read more »

Heartland Infrastructure Investment Key to the Nation’s Growth

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By Delore Zimmerman and Matthew Leiphon

Infrastructure investment in America is poised to jump to the front of the policy agenda over the next few years. With the election of the next President, new priorities and objectives are sure to be set on several key issues, including national infrastructure investment. Some of this will be addressed in a major new Congressional transportation funding that will include a major push for all kinds of infrastructure.  read more »

Sprawl Beyond Sprawl: America Moves to Smaller Metropolitan Areas

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For those interested in demographics or economic trends, domestic migration --- people moving from one county to another in the United States --- offers a critical window to the future. Domestic migration, which excludes international migration and the natural increase of births in excess of deaths, tells us much about how people are voting --- with their feet. Domestic migrants are also important because they generally arrive at their new residences with more resources than the average immigrant or newborn.  read more »

Skipping the Drive: Fueling the Telecommuting Trend

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The rapid spike in energy prices has led politicians, urban theorists and pundits to pontificate about how Americans will be living and working in new ways. A favorite story line is that Americans will start trading in their suburban homes, move back to the city centers and opt to change everything they have wanted for a half-century --- from big backyards to quiet streets to privacy --- to live a more carbon-lite urban lifestyle.

Yet, there has been little talk about what could be the best way for families and individuals to cut energy use: telecommuting.  read more »

New Deal Investments Created Enduring, Livable Communities

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Growing appeals for more public infrastructure investment make two critical claims: that this would help stimulate the economy in the short run while making our country more productive over the long run. Unlike tax rebates and other short-term stimulus, a major infrastructure investment program can have powerful effects on community life beyond boosting spending at the local Wal-Mart.  read more »

Dayton, Ohio: The Rise, Fall and Stagnation of a Former Industrial Juggernaut

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What Dayton can tell cities about staying competitive in the global economy  read more »