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Small Cities USA

Growth, Diversity, and Inequality

Jon R. Norman

Publication Year: 2013

While journalists document the decline of small-town America and scholars describe the ascent of such global cities as New York and Los Angeles, the fates of little cities remain a mystery. What about places like Providence, Rhode Island; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Laredo, Texas; and Salinas, California—the smaller cities that constitute much of America’s urban landscape? In Small Cities USA, Jon R. Norman examines how such places have fared in the wake of the large-scale economic, demographic, and social changes that occurred in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Drawing on an assessment of eighty small cities between 1970 and 2000, Norman considers the factors that have altered the physical, social, and economic landscapes of such places. These cities are examined in relation to new patterns of immigration, shifts in the global economy, and changing residential preferences. Small Cities USA presents the first large-scale comparison of smaller cities over time in the United States, showing that small cities that have prospered over time have done so because of diverse populations and economies. These "glocal" cities, as Norman calls them, are doing well without necessarily growing into large metropolises.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-6


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pp. 7-8


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pp. 9-12

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pp. xiii-xvi

Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to many, is not much to look at. Yet as someone interested in the built environment, in the development of urban places, and in how people solve collective problems, particularly ...

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1 Introduction: Small Cities in a Big Nation

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pp. 1-26

On a busy street, the sounds of Hmong and Spanish fill the air as people wander about. People talk about attending a professional football game, going to see a touring Broadway musical, visiting the local Native American heritage museum, ...

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2 The Divergent Fates of Small Cities

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pp. 27-70

As one drives down University Avenue in Green Bay, Wisconsin, one sees history written into the very fabric of the city. The old Fort Howard paper company building changed names several times as the company went from public to private and from being locally ...

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3 Putting Out the Welcome Mat

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pp. 71-90

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, is one of the few colleges in the United States where students can major in Portuguese. While Brown is known for having a highly varied and particular undergraduate curriculum, ...

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4 Diversify, Don’t Specialize

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pp. 91-115

Salinas, California, originally was known as the Salad Bowl of the World. Today, as you wander through the small city, you realize that while agriculture is still very important, Salinas and its surroundings are home to much more than l ...

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5 Balancing It All: Paths of Success or Failure for Small Metro Areas

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pp. 116-131

...“As I walked out in the streets of Laredo, as I walked out in Laredo one day, I spied a young cowboy, all wrapped in white linen, wrapped up in white linen and cold as the clay.” So goes the “Streets of Laredo” l ...

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6 Small Cities Matter!

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pp. 132-147

How have small cities changed and why? This has been the central ques-tion of my analysis. Small cities have been on divergent paths of success and failure since 1970. In the preceding chapters, ...

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7 Epilogue: Small Cities after 2000

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pp. 148-154

As the turn of the twenty- first century approached, things looked good in small cities. While not all had participated in the wave of prosperity of the late 1990s, many had booming economies, growing populations, ...

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pp. 155-164

In this book, I draw upon a wide variety of data sources for the analysis in chapters 2 through 5. I explain in this appendix where the data were collected from and the types of manipulation ...


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pp. 165-169


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pp. 171-177


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pp. 179-188


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pp. 189-189

E-ISBN-13: 9780813553320
E-ISBN-10: 0813553326
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813552781
Print-ISBN-10: 0813552788

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 22 figures, 14 tables, and 4 maps
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 859687028
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Small Cities USA

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Subject Headings

  • Small cities -- United States.
  • Small cities -- United States -- Growth.
  • Emigration and immigration -- United States.
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