On the Virtues of Statewide Journalism
The Power of a Community College
Readers weigh in
The American Sense of Place
An update: Reactions from readers and significant local-renewal developments
How Danville Has Avoided Omaha's Mistake
How the bittersweet heritage of old buildings in Danville, Virginia has helped them avoid the mistakes of Omaha..
Can Schools 'Teach Students to Think'?
A reader's response
Dead Malls, Everywhere
Readers weigh in on malls past their prime
Dead Malls, Reborn Cities
Ideas from the readers
What Happens to Abandoned Malls?
'Unknown Outside Indiana'
Cattle Drives in Down East Maine
Notes From the Rest of the Country:
'Now That I've Got a Look at This Place, It's Not So Bad!'
From the Air Traffic Controller's Perspective
The Maker Revolution:
What It Has Changed, and What It Hasn't — Yet
'The Last Best Hope for Public STEM Education in Mississippi'
Wichita, Salisbury, Knoxville, Seattle: Revival Updates
Checklists for Success,
from Knoxville to Salt Lake City and Beyond
Shifting Back to Better News: What's Happening in Ohio
Local Success, National Paralysis:
How Does it Balance Out?
Fareed Zakaria GPS, and Another Traveler's Views
What Presidential Campaigns Show About Civic Fiber
American Futures Master List:
Some of the Hundreds of Places We Would Like to Go
"There is more going on, in more places, than you imagined."
Another Look at Maine Maritime:
Who Is Providing Value, to Whom, and How?
Why an F-16 Hit a Cessna, and Some More-Upbeat Updates
Sobering news from the NTSB, but encouraging news from Maine to California
The San Bernardino Story: Fire Fighters Weigh In
Who is to blame when a struggling city runs out of money? A public-safety worker says it's unfair to point the finger at him and his colleagues. Plus, a young resident of the city discovers reasons to hope.
The Battle for Downtown, From Canada to the Carolinas
"It is strange, but true." What one reader says about Raleigh, North Carolina, applies many other places as well.
An Incredible Time-Capsule View of One Downtown's Development
Can tearing up a noted artistic zone be a path to civic success? City leaders say yes, while some of their citizens say no.
Cars, Pedestrians, and the Struggle for the Future of Downtowns
Plus: how much is any discussion of "downtown" a coded talk about race?
Fresno to South Bend to Louisville:
The Elusive Elements of Civic Success
Asheville Just 'Happened' to Develop a Nice Downtown—or Did It
In the immortal words from Liberty Valance, "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Herewith the legend and reality of Asheville.
Equal Time for Tampa, and More on Asheville Too
Catching up with changes in major cities, and in the Atlantic's own web site
More on Nice Downtowns: Do They Just Happen? Or Are They Made?
Tampa has kept trying to revive its downtown, and has kept failing. Asheville has been wildly successful—but was it even trying at all?
Nice Downtowns: How Did They Get That Way?
"Visitors think, 'That's just how Seattle is.' But it wasn't." Lessons via places ranging from Fresno to Shanghai.
Ask and Ye Shall Be Told, Mystery Airplane Edition
Sometimes crowdsourcing pays off.
That Winning Bid for California's High-Speed Rail:
Is It Suspiciously Low?
The Past Is Never Past: Slave Labor in the West Virginia Salt Wo
"It is not fair to the men who were forced to work in this industry to celebrate the salt without celebrating them as well."
On the Politics of American Resilience
One reader urges me to embrace my inner conservative. Other readers say: Not so fast!
No. 14: Why You Shouldn't Get Your Hopes Up for a Self-Driving C
"Would you prefer a system where you can be instantly teleported from SF to LA? Of course. But that doesn't mean it's going to happen."
In Which I Am Recruited to Switch Political Teams
"What you are discovering on your road trip is the genius of conservatism."
California High-Speed Rail Lucky No. 13:
Let's Look at Maglev and Other Alternatives. "Should we invest in infrastructure? Absolutely! But the right kind of infrastructure." Some ideas on what that might mean.
No. 12: All Aboard for the California High-Speed Rail Chronicles
In next month's election, Jerry Brown is seeking a fourth term as California's governor and public support for his plan for a north-south bullet train to transform travel in a car-dependent state. Here is more of what's at stake.
The 100% Renewable-Powered City: Too Good to be True?
Balancing substance and symbolism in the movement toward cleaner energy sources
California High-Speed Rail No. 11: Thinking in Time
Everybody talks about the future, but nobody does anything about it.
California High-Speed Rail No. 10: Palate Cleanser
"The decision on HSR is going to shape the future in ways we can't predict, and a touch of modesty in the arguments would be welcome."
California High-Speed Rail No. 9—the Chairman's Turn Again
You want to hear more about the biggest infrastructure project being considered anywhere in the country? You've come to the right place.
California High-Speed Rail No. 8—More Questions and Concerns
"Bad, bad, bad," and other critiques
The Courts Speak Up for California High-Speed Rail (No. 7)
And so do some readers.
California High-Speed Rail No. 6: Some Views From the Valley
People in Los Angeles and San Francisco often say that the initial links in a proposed north-south system would be "trains to nowhere." People from nowhere weigh in.
California High-Speed Rail No. 5: 10 Readers With 10 Views
A solution looking for a problem? A genuine leap forward? The best we can expect from messy political half-measures? Or something truly brave? Take your pick.
California High-Speed Rail No. 4: 7 Ways in Which High-Speed Rai
For your reference, the chairman's detailed pro-and-con about the most ambitious current attempt to change America's transportation infrastructure
California High-Speed Rail No. 3: Let's Hear From the Chairman
It's time for broader national attention to the most expensive and ambitious infrastructure proposal in America today.
California High-Speed Rail No. 2 — The Critics' Case
Every big infrastructure project is controversial. Most of them work out better than critics contend early on. But maybe the critics are right about high-speed rail. Let's hear what they say.
Smaller Towns as Talent Magnets: The Chance to Make Things Work
"The kind of people who might have gone to NASA in the 1960s, Wall Street in the 1980s, or Silicon Valley in the late 1990s are now, I think, more likely than ever to work in municipal government." So says a well-educated young small-town mayor.
Reparations, from Minnesota to Mississippi
The regional differences, and similarities, in the long struggle to come to terms with racial injustice in the United States.
Now That Mississippi Is in the News
Can the media avoid a freak-show tone?
The Endless Civil War Goes On
Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites, grapple once more with the question of "what's the worst we will put up with?"
The Endless Civil War, Continued
"Should the people in Mississippi stay poor? I would suggest taking a serious look at the answer 'yes'." So says a reader who lives elsewhere.
The Civil War That Does Not End
How to talk, in the 21st century, about the war that divided the country in the 19th century, and the racial patterns set up by slavery long before
A High School That Teaches Students to Fly, and Other Innovation
"A lot of problem-solving skills grow out of the experience of doing things rather than thinking about things."
'Career Technical' Education: More Middle in the Middle Class?
Training students for jobs that are less likely to be outsourced, de-skilled, or stuck at minimum wage.
Greenville, Burlington, and American Futures
"I loathed it with the heat of a thousand million suns."
What My School Means to Me: Essays from 3 High Schoolers
How students at an unusual school think—and write—about their experience.
East, West, and Points in Between
Where the Pacific Ocean is east of the Atlantic
Why We Never Get Over High School
Across the nation, people have different questions they ask when meeting someone new. There are hidden meanings in all of them -- including a popular one about schooling.
There's a Reason They Call It 'Eastport'
East is east, and west is west, and the twain can meet -- sort of
What We Mean When We Say Hello
The curious geography of American greetings
Why Do Tech Companies End Up Where They Are?
"You get some clusters, and some stand-alone firms far from anyone else. But rarely anything in-between."
On the Character of a Community: What Local Narratives Emphasize
The role of universities, and our un-loved public efforts.
'Springbok, Cleared for Landing':
More on the Language of the Skies
Career-Oriented Education vs. the Liberal Arts
Readers weigh in with compelling opinions on Maine Maritime Academy, liberal-arts colleges, and big questions.
Who Are You Calling a Vocational School?
In Defense of Maine Maritime
Down East Down Under
When ships sailing downwind are sailing east
How the #1 'Breakthrough' Helps Modern Communities Survive
The importance of communities, imagined and real.
EATNN TTUNA SNWCH - hold (at) MAYYO: More on the Secret Language
"The approach fixes, in order, are TRAMP, FLOZY, SILKY, and JAKOR. I'm sensing a pattern here but would love to know the back story."
A New Type of Growing City
"This is where the talent wants to live"
Everyone's a Linguist
More on 'Coming With'
Why Local Money Matters: The Middletown Story
"Absentee ownership changed everything."
American Futures: Grand Finale Holland-Palooza
A small arena in which many dramas are being played out.
Readers on 'American Orientalism'
Good thing I didn't mention snowmobiles.
'American Futures' Site-Suggestion Update
"Permanent beta" as a philosophy of travel, and life.