Before the interstates, Main Street America was the small town’s commercial spine and served as the linchpin for community social solidarity. Yet, during the past three decades, a series of economic downturns has left many of the great small cities barely viable. American Hometown Renewal is the first book to combine administrative, budgetary, and economic analysis to examine the economic and fiscal plight currently facing America’s small towns. Featuring a blend of theory, applications, and case studies, it provides a comprehensive, single-source textbook covering the key issues facing small town officials in today’s uncertain economy.

Written by a former public manager, university professor, and consultant to numerous small towns in the Heartland, this book demonstrates the ways in which contemporary small towns throughout the nation are facing economic challenges brought about by the financial shocks that began in 2008. Each chapter explores a theme related to small town revival and provides a related tool or technique to enable small town officials to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Encouraging local small town officials to look at the economic orbit of communities in a similar manner as a town’s budget or a family’s personal wealth, examining its specific competitive advantages in terms of relative assets to those of competing communities, this book provides the reader with step-by-step instructions on how to conduct an asset inventory and apply key asset tools to devise a strategy for overcoming the challenges and constraints imposed upon spatially-fixed communities. American Hometown Renewal is an essential primer for students studying city management, economic community development, and city planning, and will be a trusted handbook for city managers, geographers, city planners, urban or rural sociologists, political scientists, and regional microeconomists.

part |2 pages

Section I The Contemporary Small Town

chapter 1|17 pages

New Troubles for American Towns

chapter 2|14 pages

The Main Street Community

chapter 3|17 pages

The Small Town Policy Domain

part |2 pages

Section II Policy Planning and the Community

chapter 4|13 pages

Community Visioning and Strategic Thinking

chapter 5|22 pages

Thinking About Demographics

chapter 6|16 pages

Community Demographic Tools

chapter 7|23 pages

The American Dream and Social Mobility

part |2 pages

Section III Thinking About Economic Opportunities

chapter 8|23 pages

The Heartland and the New Global Economy

chapter 9|22 pages

Small Towns as Economic Engines

chapter 10|21 pages

Meltdown from Wall Street to Main Street

chapter 11|22 pages

Housing Policy and the American Dream

chapter 12|26 pages

Community and Housing Tools

part |2 pages

Section IV Labor Force Analysis

chapter 13|22 pages

Labor Market Dynamics

chapter 14|18 pages

Employment and Workforce Analysis

chapter 15|16 pages

Where the Jobs Are

chapter 16|18 pages

Is Your Community Competitive?

chapter 17|22 pages

Main Streets as Commercial Hubs

part |2 pages

Section V Main Street’s Fiscal Component

chapter 18|22 pages

Where Is the Money?

chapter 19|18 pages

Small City Municipal Service Framework

chapter 20|22 pages

Municipal Services and Fiscal Stress

chapter 21|20 pages

The Small Town Budget Process

chapter 22|16 pages

Public Debt Financing

chapter 23|14 pages

Comprehensive Planning and Fiscal Policy

chapter 24|24 pages

Rebooting Community in the New Economy