SMALL CITIES CONFERENCE 2018
May 11-12, 2018 • Ball State University Alumni Center
Vulnerable Communities: RESEARCH, POLICY, & PRACTICE
Deadline for submissions: November 1, 2017
SOCIAL 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 better
understanding the many dimensions of vulnerable communities, and encouraging interaction between academics
who study these issues and policy makers who address them.