James Fallows, author and correspondent for The Atlantic, last night at CivicCon offered to the audience of over 100 people what his travels have shown were the three key ingredients to civic success.
Fallows and his wife Deborah spent several years traveling across the country visiting small towns and medium-sized cities. They sought to gain insights into the real pulse of the nation.
The three keys to civic success, according to Fallows’ research, are:
- Engagement. “It has to be more than sitting before a screen,” said Fallows. “There needs to be a face-to-face connection.”
- A clear-eyed assessment of assets and liabilities. Fallows talked about not trying to be something unrealistic—beyond the communities capabilities—but he also pointed how some communities have embraced their weaknesses and used them as motivation to improve.
- Economic vitality that has more than natural inclusiveness. He said, “You have to make people feel welcomed here.”
The Fallows have written book on their travels: Our Towns, A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America