Sustainability Case Study in a U.S. Town

by P. Wright

1. Generate a number of ideas about how groups in Hillville can increase the community’s self-sufficiency in meeting local basic human needs or in community-based income generation. So, provide a brainstormed list of ideas.

2. Develop your best idea or combination of ideas into a specific proposal with a three year timeline. In a page or two, spell out your proposal in some detail. It can contain one or more of the ideas from your brainstorm list.

Your Community:

Hillville is a small town in the foothills of the Allegheny mountains.  The population is 12,000, but was 17,000 during a coal mining boom in the 1950s so there are a number of older buildings of all types which are not being fully utilized.  The town has several small factories which employ 50-100 people each, but they are not locally owned.  There is a local bank and a branch of a very large bank.  There is a small hospital and the usual assortment of schools, gas stations, etc.

There is a park in the town with a three acre pond, basic athletic fields etc.  There is also a ten acre lake in the woods which is partly in the park and partly private.  It is undeveloped.  Hillville is 40 miles from Pittsburgh and has several thousand acres of decent (if hilly) cropland which is mostly in 100-200 acre farms.  These are used for a variety of crops including corn and wheat.  (The chief crops produced during the pioneer era of Pennsylvania farming were wheat, corn, oats, rye, barley, potatoes, fruit, and hay.) There is a small local grocery store, but most residents stock up at a cheaper megastore that is 30 minutes away and use the local store only for occasional items.  Of course, the citizens have a variety of skills and occupations including all the normal professions and trades.  There are several active civic and fraternal organizations in town.

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