While traveling around America, James and Deb Fallows developed a list of eleven traits that distinguish healthy cities from ones on the down-and-out.
James Fallows of the Atlantic writes that one trait that made a city successful is its relative disregard for the national political agenda. The more often a town or city is distracted by politics, the worse shape it tends to be in. Other traits a town should have to be successful are, having local patriots, knowing its history, and having a downtown area.
"Most of the cities we visited were pouring attention, resources, and creativity into their downtown. The Main Street America project, from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has coordinated downtown-revival projects in some 2,000 communities." said Fallows.
"Successful cities have their stories too. For Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that it’s just the right size: big enough so that people who have come from the smaller-town prairie can find challenge, stimulation, opportunity; small enough to be livable and comfortable. "