How can small towns and cities adapt to changing conditions that affect the industries, technologies, and land use patterns that help form the foundation of their local economies? EPA’s new report provides case studies of seven communities that have successfully reinvigorated their struggling economies by emphasizing existing assets and distinctive resources. The report, How Small Towns and Cities Can Use Local Assets to Rebuild Their Economies: Lessons from Successful Places, draws on these case studies to offer strategies other communities can use.
Through the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program, EPA worked directly with Kelso, Washington, to explore how these types of strategies could address the city’s economic challenges brought about by the decline of the logging and smelt fishing industries. The resulting report, Using Smart Growth Strategies to Foster Economic Development: A Kelso, Washington, Case Study, provides a tool for communities looking to create their own smart growth economic development strategy that emphasizes existing assets, and it illustrates the use of that tool in Kelso.