Conference Theme

Small Cities AttendeesSocial and political unease surrounding wide differences in regional economic performance has troubled Americans for more than a generation. Job losses due to international trade and automation, coupled with rapid urbanization, have had especially dramatic effects on small cities, towns, and rural communities. While geographic variation in economic growth is not new, it appears more pronounced today than in the recent past.

Recent research suggests that many of these places are at increased risk of job loss, population decline, and associated social problems as these trends accelerate in the coming years. Additionally, political turbulence during the 2016 election cycle has led to increased policy interest in nonmetropolitan communities and small cities where these difficulties are most acute. These challenges call for extended scholarly research with a policy or applied focus. Effectively confronting challenges facing nonmetropolitan communities and small cities requires we (1) better understand the many dimensions of vulnerable communities and (2) encourage interaction between academics who study these issues and policymakers who address them.

Best Paper Award

Congratulations to Richard E. Ocejo, who received the Best Paper Award at the 2018 Small Cities Conference for his work, ‘Curate Our Own City’: Constructing and Contesting Visions of Place in a Small City.

Friday

Friday, May 11, 2018

  • Opening Remarks by Geoffrey Mearns, JD, President, Ball State University
  • Introduced by James Connolly, Director, Center for Middletown Studies, Ball State University

  • Moderated by Nihal Perera, Ball State University
  • Discussed by Dagney Faulk, Ball State University
  • Asymmetry in Growth and Decline: Multipliers, Housing Prices, and Rustbelt Decline
    Michael Hicks, Ball State University
  • Identifying the Vulnerability of Small City Definitions – The Case of the Micropolitan Area
    J. Matthew Fannin (presenter), Rural Policy Research Institute and Louisiana State University and Vikash Dangal, Louisiana State University
  • How Do Hoosiers Feel About Free Trade and Legal Immigration? Exploring the Context of Opinions on Globalization
    Chad Kinsella (presenter) and Charles D. Taylor, Ball State University

  • Keynote by Greg Goodnight, Mayor, City of Kokomo, IN
    Introduced by David Terrell, Executive Director, Indiana Communities Institute and RUPRI Center for State Policy, Ball State University

  • Moderated by Dagney Faulk, Ball State University
  • Discussed by Emily Wornell, Ball State University
  • Governing Dynamics in Small Municipalities: The Difference Between Suburban and Rural
    Joshua Tegen, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Comparing School Board Priorities and Dynamics in Rural and Suburban Districts
    Michael Ford, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
  • Dr. Suburb-Love: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Suburbs
    Hannah Lebovits, Cleveland State University

  • Refreshments and networking
  • Presentation of the Best Paper Award by James Connolly, Center for Middletown Studies, Ball State University
  • Keynote by Charles W. Fluharty, President and CEO, Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI)
    Introduced by Emily Wornell, Research Assistant Professor, Indiana Communities Institute and RUPRI Center for State Policy, Ball State University

Saturday, May 12

  • Comment and question cards located at each table
  • Moderated by Michael Hicks, Ball State University
  • Discussed by Charles (Chip) Taylor, Ball State University
  • Local Autonomy as a Determinant of Regional Economic Development Policy
    Thomas Skuzinski (presenter), Virginia Tech and Jay Rickabaugh (presenter), University of Pittsburgh
  • Growing Civic Capacity with Abandoned Property: Land Bank Formation in the Context of Austerity
    John West, Ball State University
  • Local Government Responses to Property Tax Caps: An Analysis of Indiana Municipal Governments
    Dagney Faulk (presenter), Charles D. Taylor, and Pamela Schaal, Ball State University

  • Moderated by Michael Hicks, Ball State University

Panelists

  • Thomas Skuzinski, Assistant Professor, Global Forum for Urban and Regional Resilience, Virginia Tech
  • David Terrell, Executive Director, Indiana Communities Institute and RUPRI Center for State Policy, Ball State University
  • Emily Wornell, Research Assistant Professor, Indiana Communities Institute and RUPRI Center for State Policy, Ball State University
  • Closing Remarks by James Connolly, Director, Center for Middletown Studies, Ball State University