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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
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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!

The Basics

Small towns face a variety of additional challenges, including declining agricultural support services, decaying infrastructure, and overcoming stereotypical images in the media.


What the Experts Say

Waste, water, and growth
Many small towns lack even basic sewage treatment capacity, simply allowing raw sewage to reach lakes and waterways. Part of the problem is that modern environmental laws restrict new development of proper septic systems [Source 1, Source 2, Source 3]

Small town stereotype: Idyllic, but needy
Media portrayals of rural Minnesota rely heavily on using idyllic, clichéd images of common values and tight-knit, but needy communities. [Source 1, Source 2]

Rural veterinarians in short supply
It used to be small towns could send their aspiring young people to veterinary school and expect them to return. Now, the majority of veterinary students are interested in small animal medicine, leaving greater Minnesota short on vet services. [Source 1]

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Ideas for: Other

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4 rating
(1 vote)
Develop a new agrifood think tank
Research & develop a new and radically different nonprofit agri-food think-tank, that is designed to:

1.Identify and pull together the root causes of problems/obstacles (metaphorically a broken 'p... Read more

From Tim Bryan of Mahtomedi, MN on 09/01/05

1 comment | Vote/comment on this entry



4 rating
(1 vote)
Consider the future of New Ulm
New Ulm is dealing with a lot of issues discussed on this page. Fortunately New Ulm is big enough to attract large business, when so many small towns have lost everything. Unfortunately this is the ... Read more

From Brian Paulson of Hanska, MN on 08/20/05

1 comment | Vote/comment on this entry



3 rating
(1 vote)
Promote evolution rather than revolution
I believe it's important to allow small towns to evolve rather than trying to artificially push them into a niche they don't fit into.

Small towns offer what large towns and cities don't and some ... Read more

From Rick Morris of Waseca, MN on 06/22/05

1 comment | Vote/comment on this entry



4.5 rating
(3 votes)
Provide ground source heating and cooling
Undertake a project to provide ground source heating and cooling for all homes. This could provide heating and cooling with NO fuel cost, only the electricity cost to operate the heat pump.

Ground... Read more

From Doug Talley of Duluth, MN on 06/04/05

3 comments | Vote/comment on this entry



0 rating
(0 votes)
Get a co-op convenience store!
While travelling in greater Minnesota and beyond I've always been impressed by the CENEX and similar co-op convience stores. In towns that the major brands won't even look at these stores offer fuel, ... Read more

From Diana Slyter of Minneapolis, MN on 06/02/05

0 comments | Vote/comment on this entry



0 rating
(0 votes)
Promote affordable housing by building "monolithic domes"
They say one huge drawback to small town development is lack of good housing. There are numerous types of affordable housing available.

One example is a super strong, energy-efficient, low maintai... Read more

From Jerry Cleveland of Spring Valley, MN on 05/28/05

0 comments | Vote/comment on this entry



4 rating
(2 votes)
Small towns: Protect your wildlife
Sustainable and diverse economies are always found in towns with healthy ecosystems surrounding them; Brainerd MN, Jackson WY, Mitchell SD. These towns and many more have protected their wildlife, fis... Read more

From Neal Lesmeister of Baxter, MN on 05/27/05

2 comments | Vote/comment on this entry



4 rating
(4 votes)
Tell me more about yourself (information is the key)
Information is the fuel of the economy fire circle. Make your public information more accessible.

Five questions I cannot answer about my home town and should: 1) What year was my home town est... Read more

From Joseph Ingersoll of Oxford township, MN on 05/25/05

4 comments | Vote/comment on this entry



4.5 rating
(16 votes)
Shop locally
Small towns will not survive into the future unless people living there decide to start shopping in their local stores and ban all WALMARTS. This megacorporation is a killer of small towns.

The... Read more

From Kate Crowley of Willow River, MN on 05/20/05

16 comments | Vote/comment on this entry



0 rating
(0 votes)
Improve water and wastewater infrastructure
NPR did a story about a month ago regarding small towns and their problems growing because of their sewage treatment systems having no more taps available.

The city of Princeton just lost a law su... Read more

From Clint Elston of Afton, MN on 05/20/05

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