Re-Inventing Small Manufacturing Towns in the 21st Century

Old building in a small manufacturing town.

Disastrous consequences evolved as a result of the industrial age and beyond as financial gain was revered at the expense of environmental and social considerations.  These consequences are worst in small single company towns gone bust — communities built so as to concentrate workers on a singular economic enterprise. Many of these communities are now landscapes of abandoned assets, economic atrophy and poisoned land and water.  They include mining towns in the West and Appalachia, lumber towns in the Northwest, textile villages in New England and the Southeast, steel towns in the Rust Belt, and motor cities in the Midwest. These places struggle with the aftermath of environmental contamination, economic disinvestment and frayed social fabrics. Now these communities are looking for new ways to build a secure and sustainable future.

20/21 Hindsight: Applying 21st Century understanding to 20th Century Development

Starting in the 1860s, company towns sprung up across America, peaking at 2,500 in the 1930s. Some company towns were exploitive, where the boss owned the workers “heart, soul, skin and guts”. Other company towns were utopian, investing in social institutions such as schools, libraries and hospitals.

Read the full story here.


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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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