How Small Towns and Cities Can Use Local Assets to Rebuild Their Economies: Lessons from Successful Places


Over time, all communities experience changes that affect the industries, technologies and land use patterns that help form the foundation of their local economies. Economically resilient towns, cities and regions adapt to changing conditions and even reinvent their economic bases if necessary. Even if the community has lost its original or main economic driver, it has other assets that it can use to spur the local economy. While most economic development strategies involve some effort to recruit major employers, such as manufacturers or large retailers, many successful small towns and cities complement recruitment by emphasizing their existing assets and distinctive resources. This report examines case studies of small towns and cities that have successfully used this approach, including:

  • Douglas, Ga.
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Emporia, Kan.
  • Paducah, Ky.
  • Mount Morris, N.Y.
  • Bend, Ore.
  • Roanoke, Va.

To read the report, visit