Book explores successful cities and towns

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Deborah and James Fallows with WITF’s Scott LaMar at Midtown Scholar Bookstore/photo by Joe Ulrich

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, February 18, 2019:

American cities and towns have undergone significant changes over the past half-century. Many lost population, businesses shut down, jobs were lost, schools suffered and in many cases crime increased. Some didn’t suffer as much as others and some began to re-think and re-invent themselves sooner than others.

But it took thinking and planning that was innovative and different than in the past. Many began using their physical assets like waterfronts to attract residents and visitors. Entertainment venues such as restaurants, bars and theaters increased. The arts often were the driving force behind a resurrection. Speciality schools for the arts or science and technology brought more people. As a result, there are cities and towns that have been resurrected.

James and Deborach Fallows travelled to many of these places and chronicled what they found in the best-selling book Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey Into America’s Heartland. The Fallows recently discussed the book and their findings at Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg and we hear that conversation on Monday’s Smart Talk.

During the discussion, we hear what characteristics successful cities and towns have and how specific place like Allentown, Greenville, South Carolina and the Golden Triangle of Mississippi have made comebacks.