Small Town Economic Development


7″ x 10″, softcover, 304 pages,

SKU: CSTED01 Categories: ,


Much has been written about small town economic development with articles appearing in magazines, scholarly journals, newsletters, and online. In Small Town Economic Development a team of development professionals and academics have gathered the very best information and organized it into a single volume.

Sixty-eight articles from 32 sources provide unique insights into a wide range of issues impacting the economic growth and prosperity of cities and towns with populations of 50,000 or less.

The book begins with nine articles on the state of small towns and cities in the United States, and ends with another eight articles on warnings and challenges for the future.

In between, the bulk of the book is focused on best practices in economic development. These include ideas in leadership and strategy, marketing and branding, and capital and financing. Also included are many examples of classic economic development practices and contemporary ideas that resonate with both millennials and retiring baby boomers.

The table of contents shows the breadth of the articles gathered in this insightful and often inspiring volume.

Table of Contents

  1. The State of Small Towns
    • Towns in the Age of Megacities
    • Where Is America Growing?
    • City Versus Suburban Growth in Small Metro Areas
    • Pushing for Inclusive Economic Development
    • The State of America’s Cities
    • Strengthening the Rural Economy
    • Growing New Businesses in Rural America
    • The Challenges of a Small Town
    • Economic Development in Hard Times


  1. Bright Ideas, Good Practices
    • A. Leadership and Strategy
    • The Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development
    • All Economies Are Local
    • Defining Small Towns for Economic Development
    • The Secrets of Successful Communities
    • Big Ideas for Small Cities
    • Small Towns, Big Ideas
    • Strategies for Small Town Success
    • Using Networks for Economic Development
    • State-of-the-Art Measures in Economic Development


    • B. Branding and Marketing
    • Jump-Starting a Small Community Economy
    • Ten Tips for Branding Your Small Town
    • Are Municipal Branding Campaigns Worth the Price?
    • How to Market a Small Town
    • Seven Elements of Effective Community Marketing


    • C. Capital and Financing
    • Creation, Implementation and Evaluation of Tax Increment Financing
    • Community Improvement District to the Rescue
    • State Governments: The Latest Venture Capitalists
    • Thinking Differently About Development


    • D. Infrastructure
    • The Search for Infrastructure Driven Transformation
    • Revving Up the Rails
    • Bridge to Somewhere
    • Romancing the Factory
    • Historic Train Depot Breathing New Life into One Small Town


    • E. Brownfields
    • Creating a Land Boom
    • A Brownfields Bonanza
    • Attracting Development to Brownfields Sites


    • F. Downtown
    • Chelsea’s Path to a Vibrant Downtown
    • Top Ten Myths of Downtown Planning
    • Revitalizing America’s Downtowns During This Century
    • Debunking Time: 12 Myths About Downtown


    • G. Main Street
    • Main Street Facelift
    • Main Street Pursuits


    • H. Retail
    • City-Developer Relations
    • The Retail Chase


    • I. Tourism
    • Tourism Impacts Economic Development
    • Tourism in the City of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
    • Want Tourists in Your Town? Brand It, and They Will Come


    • J. Arts
    • Work of Arts
    • Assets Building in a Small Appalachian City


    • K. Technology
    • Can Green Technology Propel Economic Development?
    • Metro Wi-Fi Networks
    • Mississippi Hotspot


    • L. Food
    • The Supermarket as a Neighborhood Building Block
    • Fresh Fight


    • M. Creative Space
    • Creating Jobs Over Coffee
    • Reimagining a Mill Community


    • N. Transportation
    • Bike Share Isn’t Just for Big Cities
    • Some in D.C. Think Livability Is Not a Small Town Value


    • O. Multigenerational
    • Can Millennials Revive the American City?
    • Young Professionals Return Home, and Stay
    • Building Intergenerational Communities
    • Retirees: A New Economic Development Strategy
  1. Caveats and the Future
    • Do Cities Really Want Economic Development?
    • The Panacea Patrol
    • Bordeaux vs. Budweiser
    • As Suburbs Shift, Funding Fights Loom
    • When Bad Things Happen to Good Plans
    • Examining Economic Development Dollars
    • The Myths of Municipal Mergers
    • Economic Development in the 1099 Economy


About the Editors

Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, PhD, is Mayor George Christopher Professor of Public Service at the Edward S. Ageno School of Business of Golden Gate University. He has worked as an economic development planner and advocate in the United States, Asia, and Africa.

Roger L. Kemp, PhD, ICMA-CM, is Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the Edward S. Ageno School of Business of Golden Gate University and a career city manager for 25 years in California, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

His other books include, Cities and the Arts, and Main Street Renewal.

Jonathan Rosenthal, MPA, AICP, has more than 35 years of experience in economic development serving Syracuse and Onondaga Counties as well as the cities of Des Moines, New Haven, and Bristol.


Read the Preface


Small Town Economic Development is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.


“Gonzalez, Kemp, and Rosenthal present insightful and pragmatic approaches for small town officials and citizens seeking to enhance economic development in their communities.”
— Randall Margo, Ph.D.,
Former Assistant County Administrator, Yuba, California

“Gonzalez, Kemp, and Rosenthal present a deep look into our past ineffective efforts to revive rural economies, addressing the next great challenge to our country.”
— Michael Garvey,
City Manager, San Carlos, California