The Economic Survival of America's Isolated Small Towns  book cover
1st Edition

The Economic Survival of America's Isolated Small Towns

ISBN 9781482248821
Published June 26, 2015 by Routledge
263 Pages 103 B/W Illustrations

USD $92.95

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Book Description

The economic history of the recent decade has been volatile at best, and devastating at its worst. The effects have tended to be most severe in the small, isolated towns of America. The Economic Survival of America's Isolated Small Towns presents a detailed discussion of the economic challenges facing these small towns, looking at why some have survived, while others have not. Through 51 case studies, this book gives a voice to the real, living realities and administrative strategies of small-town America.

The Economic Survival of America's Isolated Small Towns focuses on towns that have fewer than 10,000 residents and are further than 50 miles from another larger city. Based on interviews with the leaders of 51 small towns, the author shows how to plan and implement economic growth strategies, equally applicable to those communities that are trying to retain their strength as to those that are trying to rebuild following a downturn. The case studies convey, from one town leader to the other, which actions fail and which succeed.

Following the case studies, the author presents concluding thoughts, looking at topics such as:

  • Relevance of lessons learned in micropolitan cities (population 10,000–50,000) to small, isolated towns
  • Impact of enabling technologies on small-town survival
  • Advantages to employers in small, isolated towns
  • Feasibility for small towns to build the required facilities and infrastructure that might attract potential employers
  • Whether it is beneficial for the US to prop up struggling small towns artificially

The Economic Survival of America's Isolated Small Towns presents basic lessons learned by these small-town leaders that can benefit leaders in other towns as they confront similar issues and situations. Those charged with establishing public policy—either at the federal or state levels—should find the conclusions valuable as they plan for the next generation of public economic policies.

Table of Contents

About the Author

Previous Research
What Is a Small City or Town, and Who Lives in Them?
What Does It Mean for a Small Town to Be Isolated, and Why Is That Important?
Selecting the Case Study Cities
Similarities and Dissimilarities between the Economic Forces and Solutions Facing Large Cities and Small Towns

Fifty-One of America’s Small and Isolated Cities Examined
Northwest Region
Emmett, Idaho
Rupert, Idaho
Lewistown, Montana
Lincoln, Oregon
Ephrata, Washington
Cody, Wyoming
Douglas, Wyoming

North Central
Algona, Iowa
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
International Falls, Minnesota
Montevideo, Minnesota
Holdredge, Nebraska
Sidney, Nebraska
Valley City, North Dakota

Great Lakes
Carmi, Illinois
Kingsford, Michigan
Ashland, Wisconsin
Rice Lake, Wisconsin

Caribou, Maine
Titusville, Pennsylvania

Arab, Alabama
Hamilton, Alabama
Thomaston, Georgia
Kosciusko, Mississippi
Brevard, North Carolina
Roxboro, North Carolina
Covington, Tennessee
Lexington, Tennessee
McKenzie, Tennessee
Galax, Virginia
South Boston, Virginia
Elkins, West Virginia

South Central
Pocahontas, Arkansas
Colby, Kansas
Fort Scott, Kansas
Charleston, Missouri
Chillicothe, Missouri
Perryville, Missouri
Breckenridge, Texas
Elsa, Texas
Pecos, Texas

West and Southwest
Winslow, Arizona
Fort Bragg, California
Yreka, California
Delta, Colorado
Gunnison, Colorado
Lamar, Colorado
Salida, Colorado
Winnemucca, Nevada
Taos, New Mexico
Vernal, Utah

The Relevance of Lessons Learned in Micropolitan Cities to Those That Are Small and Isolated
Will Technology Enable Small Towns to Survive?
Are There Advantages for Employers in Small, Isolated Cities?
Why Should We Care about America’s Cities That Are Small and Isolated?
Special Considerations for Small, Isolated Cities and Towns
The Brain Drain and Postsecondary Education
If You Build It, Will They Really Come?

A Special Case Study: Raton, New Mexico
What Happens to a City without Jobs?
Interview with Paula Murphy, Publisher of the Raton Range

Issues for Future Economic Growth, by City and Region

Internet Citations
Unpublished Papers


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Dr. Gerald L. Gordon is the president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority in Fairfax County, Virginia, one of the largest office space markets in the United States. Dr. Gordon holds a bachelor’s degree from The Citadel, a master’s degree from George Washington University, and a doctorate in international economics from the Catholic University of America. He is also the author of 13 books and numerous articles on strategic planning and economic development. His most recent books are Reinventing Local and Regional Economies (2011) and The Formula for Economic Growth on Main Street America (2009).

Virginia Business Magazine named Dr. Gordon the 2010 Virginia Business Person of the Year, and Leadership Fairfax, Inc., named Dr. Gordon the recipient of its 2011 Northern Virginia Regional Leadership Award.