Small-town sustainability: a case study
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Across the United States, cities and towns of all sizes are employing sustainability and resilience strategies in an attempt to address a myriad of challenges - natural disasters, rapid development, dwindling populations (Beatley, 1992; Campbell, 1996; Krueger, 2005). Yet, little is known about the communities with populations under 50,000 that are taking a sustainability approach to development. This research employs qualitative methodology to better understand Fairfield, Iowa, a City with a population of under 10,000, that is utilizing a sustainability approach to community development. This case study uses in-depth interviews, a narrative analysis, and a participatory plan evaluation to understand how and why sustainability has become a strategy for community development. Results demonstrate the importance of community engagement, proactive leadership, and goal oriented planning. This research offers insights into the way in which sustainability emerged as a theme in the Fairfield community, how it is being implemented, and elements for other communities to consider when engaging with sustainability.