One of the challenges of urban economic development is that most conferences and case studies profile efforts in large, internationally-known cities. While large cities tend to captivate America’s attention, there are small cities lurking in their shadows – and these places are proving to be some of America’s most beloved communities.
At last month’s National Main Streets Conference, researcher David Ivan of Michigan State University shared his research on over 300 small communities in 22 states in order to ascertain what makes a place “cool.” His multi-year research effort, funded by the Kellogg Foundation, found that places like Grand Rapids, Michigan and Dubuque, Iowa are laying the groundwork for sustainable economic futures. These communities have moved beyond focusing on attracting companies to attracting talent, moving from investments in physical infrastructure to investments in creative infrastructure – making the community more attractive for residents and businesses… Read more from