Too many American towns rely on one industry to sustain them financially. Whether it’s a mine, a mill or a plant, these industries can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing comes from the jobs and opportunities the resources provide, but the curse comes when the community becomes trapped in the resource economy, unable to grow beyond it. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Strong Towns created Breaking Out of the Resource Trap to help communities grow stronger and more prosperous. The series included eight core articles from Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn, as well as multiple case studies. All the articles—as well as the free e-book, Breaking Out of the Resource Trap: An Economic Plan for Resource-Based Communities, can be found here. The case studies are listed below:
The suburban growth model might as well be called an extractive industry: it deals just as much of a beating to communities that embrace it.
Cities in Wyoming have become dependent on extractive industry. Here’s how and why they need to get out of this impossibly fragile situation.
A model of what the future could look like for communities that depend on extractive industry, if they make the right investments.
How one Colorado town is breaking away from its former dependence on mining.
Moving past a commodity-based economy is not for the faint of heart. See how this community in Idaho has begun welcoming new (sometimes even weird) ideas on how to do so.
Natural resources have been a mixed bag for Big Horn County, Montana, but local Crow (Apsáalooke) leaders are working to turn the narrative around.
The generational ranch model has been wobbling since WWII, but here's how one small community in Montana is keeping grazing land as working lands, as well as bolstering opportunities for young producers.