That Special Story
"Place" is more than a destination or a dot on the map. "Place" has a story that makes the region special – a story residents and local businesses care about, connect to, and are committed to preserving.
A growing number of people, some from the "Creative Class"
of professionals, want to live in towns that are distinctive – that
don’t suffer from the blandness that characterizes much of America.
More and more, tourists also seek unique experiences in towns that
don’t look like they were created on an assembly line. We can do more
than vacation in real places; we can live in them.
The same is true for employers: when considering start-up or relocation, increasingly more segments of our economy prefer places that offer employees meaningful opportunities – not just towns that dangle the biggest financial incentive.
Cookie-cutter strip malls and sprawl can undermine a community’s distinctiveness, and they’re usually not good economic news for Main Street – the part of town that is unique, that does exhibit a sense of heritage.
What makes a town special? It could be a collection of splendid buildings; a historic event to commemorate; a reputation for good art, bookstores, museums, or B&Bs; an author’s birthplace; a great natural environment; the setting for a movie; or a flagship activity the region is known for, such as a rodeo or festival.
Celebrate and build on these and other amenities. Set your town apart! Business consultants argue that "differentiation" is key, if products are to compete with others. Think of your town the same way. As much as the product, it’s the civic exercise in getting there that matters. See Section 5.