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The Future of Small Towns: Idea Generator
Categories : People : Economic opportunity : Human services : Telecommunications : Transportation : Social/cultural opportunities : Education : Government & policy : Other

People Go to category
4.5 rating Diversity makes small towns friendlier
4 rating Encourage immigrants to move to small towns
4 rating Small towns need focus and commitment
Economic opportunity Go to category
4.5 rating Support your local businesses
4.5 rating Encourage home-grown entrepreneurs
4.5 rating Create local cooperatives
Human services Go to category
4.5 rating Meet the needs of the aging population
3.5 rating Put early childhood centers in vacant main street buildings
3.5 rating Consolidate human services into outreach centers
Telecommunications Go to category
5 rating Build a municipally owned fiber optic network
4.5 rating Formulate a Rural Broadband Act
4.5 rating Bring wireless Internet to small towns
Transportation Go to category
4.5 rating Invest in high-speed transit between cities
3.5 rating Create a state fund for small city transportation
2 rating Focus on the cost of living; start by making transit cheap
Social/cultural opportunities Go to category
4.5 rating Make towns cheap enough for artists
4.5 rating Support library services
4.5 rating Collectively market small town assets
Education Go to category
4 rating Fund your school to the hilt
4 rating Turn the local school into a community school
3 rating Revisit the one-room schoolhouse
Government & policy Go to category
4.5 rating Create incentives to attract young residents
4 rating Bring more state employment opportunities to outstate Minnesota
3 rating Create a rural-urban coalition
Other Go to category
4.5 rating Shop locally
4.5 rating Promote responsible consumption
4.5 rating Provide ground source heating and cooling
Help pick the best ideas!
View the existing ideas, rate them, and add comments if you wish.

10 Most Recent Ideas
3 rating Create Fab Labs
4 rating Develop a new agrifood think tank
4 rating Consider the future of New Ulm
4 rating Bring jobs to the people
3 rating Promote evolution rather than revolution
4.5 rating Build music instrument factories in minnesota
4 rating The state should lead development of high-speed broadband
0 rating Create exchange programs with large cities
3 rating Take care of basic needs first
4.5 rating Create an artists quarter on main street
What is this?
This is an online collaboration where you can suggest and discuss ideas for dealing with the challenges facing small towns.

To take part, click on an idea to read it, or click on a category to read all of the ideas in that area. Then rate or comment on an idea, or even take the next step and propose an idea.

Some of best ideas shared here will be discussed at the upcoming Symposium on Small Towns, June 7th and 8th at the University of Minnesota-Morris. Learn more and register here.

Document Do small towns have a future?
After cresting in the 1930s and 1950s, the rural population on the Northern Great Plains has steadily decreased. Younger people moved to cities. Older people tended to stay. That process has now reached a point where, unless something is done to alter the trend, when this generation of senior citizens is gone, the culture of the Northern Great Plains will virtually disappear, leaving a few islands of urban prosperity along its eastern edge. (05/08/2005)

Document Propose a new idea
Do you have an idea about the future of small towns? Are the ideas you see not quite hitting the mark? Propose your own idea for the future of small towns!

Document E-mail this to a friend/colleague

Document Help/Frequently Asked Questions