What makes a community thrive? What makes a community that has been down on its luck turn things around – become vibrant, exciting, and growing? How do communities grow in ways that include everybody?
The answers are not easy to come up with. But thriving communities do share many common features. Successful communities have people focused on local possibilities, rather than national bitterness. They work together across sectors, party lines, economic statuses and class. And they have local “patriots” – people who believe deeply in their communities.
These are the joyful and not-so-surprising findings of James and Deborah Fallows, journalists and authors of the powerful book Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey Into the Heart of the America.
They sum up by outlining “10½ Signs of Civic Success,” defining the trends and themes they identified in towns that are thriving despite facing challenges. To name just a few: big ideas, well-supported community colleges, and at least one craft brewery (that’s the “half”).
What struck me is that I see every one of those 10 1/2 signs here in Delaware. Local patriots and big ideas are flourishing – from the new 12-step center in Seaford to the state’s public-private partnership for economic development, the Second Chances Farm project to the Downtown Dover Partnership. We’ve got thriving community colleges, cohesive downtown areas and more.
I have more to say about their work – and you can read it in this op-ed from the News Journal.
And then tell us how you see Delaware towns moving forward. Post your thoughts and comments with the hashtag #OurTownsDE.
And then, you can learn even more by reading their book, and attending a presentation by the Fallows on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Click here to learn more