One answer appears to lie in taking a close look at your community and making the most of what makes you unique.
The western Iowa community of Audubon has done just that. Even though ornithologist, naturalist, hunter, and artist John James Audubon never visited there, the town that bears his name has made every effort to capitalize on this most famous painter of birds.
The mosaics were created and installed by artist and native son Clint Hansen. The photos are courtesy of Audubon photographer Juanita Renard.
Every community cannot point to such a famous namesake. But I expect every community could find something that makes it special. The challenge, of course, isn't just to find the uniqueness, but to have the community strength of will to carry through.
I wrote more about Audubon, Iowa, in the March-April issue of The Iowan.