Urbanization and the urban sprawl are threatening to make small towns even smaller—and tourists’ nostalgia may be their savior

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Quartz: The streets of Woodstock, Vermont felt like a movie set when I stepped out of my car. It looked as if any minute someone would shout “action!” and actors would appear in the windows of the ornate brick buildings to sing a jubilant theme song.

It was lunchtime in July. People were popping in and out of F.H. Gillingham & Sons General Store, strolling along and stopping at storefronts. Patrons flocked to Bentleys restaurant, and outside Norman Williams Public Library, readers searched for bargains at the annual book sale. Down the road under leafy trees, farmers set up stalls and welcomed clients. On a notice board I saw an invitation to a Front Porch Forum. The agenda: find a lost puppy, give away desk and chairs, and share moose sightings.

Founded in 1761, Woodstock was one of the stops on my travels through New England when I was doing research for my book Planning Small and Mid-Sized Towns; Designing and Retrofitting for Sustainability.Like many communities of its kind, Woodstock’s prosperity was mainly tied to transportation. A route to the north passes through it, and in 1877 it became the terminus of the Woodstock Railway company. Resiliency, hard work, scenic views, and lots of good fortune made the place what it has now become.  Read more.

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