Leaping through the momentum of decline, a small-town planning initiative




Winton, Gregory Scott

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The report addresses the question: “How can a town that has experienced decades of decline stop that momentum through internal actions and activities”? The question is addressed with literature review of causes of rural decline. A discussion is also included on reasons to save declining places. Research on the extent of declining towns in Texas is presented as well as literature review on the extent of rural depopulation within the United States. Best practices and resources available to rural Texas towns are presented. The philosophy of permaculture is submitted as a discipline a town should adopt for town systems, including eight types of capital that may be present within a town. Systems thinking is presented as an organizational development tool for town revival with the idea that personal self-improvement and an internal transformation of community members is how to address the decline. Sierra Blanca, Texas is woven through the narrative to provide examples and context. Recommended practices the town could adopt and a perspective labeled as Leap Town are offered as a lens a town can use to structure their own vision for revival. It is based upon the idea that a town would leapfrog to the 22nd-century in their thinking and actions. Sierra Blanca is also discussed as an example where a recovery center is helping to effect change by bringing manpower, potential future residents, and a presence of hope to the community.


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