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Thursday, January 10, 2013


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I just started a discussion on this the American Planning Association Small Town and Rural Planning Discussion Group. Feel free to follow along. I don't know if it will generate any comments be we will see. I posted a link to your blog post.


I am brand, spanking new to the field of planning, and this article prompted a whole new area of thought for me. It drew directly from my roots, as I hale from a tiny southern Indiana town that had it's hay-day in coal mining and has been in gradual decline decade after decade. The locals understand this, and worry about it for the next generation (who aren't farmers)but love their land and way of life with generational family ties "just down the road". Many have always worked in a larger neighboring town, so there is somewhat of a "bedroom community" effect. The county offers a large recreational area that helps commerce in the warm months as campers come and go in good numbers. A large federal prison was built nearby a few years ago, and that also has helped employment. Perhaps that, coupled with being the county seat has enabled them to keep their post office and banks. In looking at this from a planning perspective, I would identify the greatest weakness as the younger, working, professionals who recognize the problem but have not taken steps to formulate a "new identity" for the town that will allow the next generation to enjoy the small-town lifestyle.

For another view: The Rural Minnesota Journal, a product of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, is out online for 2012, print edition to follow. (Disclosure: I'm a retired journalist, on the editorial board and wrote an article on why we should care).

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