The Future of Small Towns in a Sprawling Global Community


You may not live in a small town, but chances are that some of your relatives, colleagues, and clients do. Sadly, most small towns are facing harder economic conditions than their urban counterparts. Many of these places are turning into ghost towns as the one or two major employers are going out of business.

But what if your town is in the opposite situation and your dilemma is growth oriented? Believe it or not, there are several small towns attracting urban commuters looking for a quaint and charming place to rest their heads and raise their families. These small towns are facing an influx of people that by default will eventually want to expand development and conveniences in the area. Despite the fact that many moved there to get away from the proverbial “noise,” we are creatures of habit, and old habits…well, you get the idea.

As a result, many small town residents are concerned that what once made their towns so attractive is fading in the shadow of progress. For many towns this will be the case, but for others, I offer a few thoughts on how to maintain and capitalize on the greatness and attractiveness of your community.

What makes small towns so appealing is the community rather than the size of the town. Small towns, like their larger counterparts seek economic growth, but on their own terms. The key to maintaining small town integrity is to look for new ways that community bond and charm can evolve amidst a growing population.

It’s also important to remember that communities are ecosystems. They will grow and shrink as the environment changes and although some may see the influx of residents who commute to the “big city” as an “invasive species,” the key to long-term success in any town is the diversity and co-dependence of its residents.

These towns have to find creative ways to adapt to changes, because at the end of the day, change is inevitable. It’s far better to seize the opportunity for growth and play an active role in its direction than to face the possibility of decline for the sake of nostalgia.

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