Helping You Be Contemporary in a Traditional Way

“Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed”

Here is a wonderful essay, Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed, by the incomparable James Fallows. It is a summation of James and Deb Fallows’s 54,000-mile journey around America in a single-engine plane.

The article appears in the March print edition alongside the cover story, “Can America Put Itself Back Together?”

In it he described an informal checklist “that distinguished a place where things seemed to work”.

“These items are obviously different in nature, most of them are subjective, and some of them overlap…..But if you tell us how a town measures up based on these standards, we can guess a lot of other things about it. In our experiences, these things were true of the cities, large or small, that were working best:
1. Divisive national politics seem a distant concern

2. You can pick out the local patriots

3. “Public-private partnerships” are real.

4. People know the civic story. (That’s our thing – more to come on that subject)

5. They have a downtown.

6. They are near a research university

7. They have, and care about, a community college.

8. They have unusual schools.

9. They make themselves open.

10. They have big plans.
11. They have craft breweries.

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