APR / 20 / 2023

Investigating Social Networks in Support of Rural Shrink Smart


APR / 12 / 2022

Innovation at Work: Unconventional methods help boost rural quality of life


APR / 12 / 2022

University Project Looks at Communities in Iowa That Are ‘Shrinking Smart’


FEB / 25 / 2022

Sac City, population 2,000, builds on its good bones


FEB / 25 / 2022

Elma, population 505, meets town needs through bridge building, $1.4 million project


FEB / 25 / 2022

Generations of local leaders propel Bancroft, population 699


FEB / 25 / 2022

Iowa’s shrinking towns could be state, regional mentors


FEB / 24 / 2022

How 3 Iowa towns are getting smaller but smarter through Iowa State program


JUNE / 1 / 2021

Webinar: How Communities Can Utilize Financial Data in Planning Their Futures: Strategies and Innovations from Rural Iowa

Video now available to watch!




MAY / 18 / 2021

Webinar: How Communities Can Utilize Financial Data in Planning Their Futures: Strategies and Innovations from Rural Iowa

Date: May 26, 2pm-3pm (ET)/1pm-2pm (CT)/12pm-1pm (MT)

Knowing how communities can obtain and use financial data is critical. In this session, you will learn how to utilize financial data in planning and refining strategies that focus on strengthening community resilience. Results from an on-going research project funded by the National Science Foundation will be part of the presentation.

Use this link to register for the event!


JULY / 01 / 2020

NSF funds new research phase with a $1.5 million grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded our project on rural smart shrinkage a second grant, for $1.5 million, to continue our research on small and shrinking communities in Iowa. We will be updating this website with more information starting in Fall 2020.


JUN / 04 / 2020

Shrinking Smart: Small Towns Cope with Declining Populations


DECEMBER / 17 / 2019

Zarecor and Peters on NPR’s Here and Now



NOVEMBER / 25 / 2019

Promise program in Kansas – is this a good smart shrinkage strategy?

Kimberly Zarecor spoke to KCUR about the potential of a tuition-free program in a shrinking Kansas town.


NOVEMBER / 01 / 2019

Smart shrinkage on Kansas Public Radio

David Peters on the KCUR podcast, “My Fellow Kansans” about smart shrinkage in rural Kansas towns.


OCTOBER / 14 / 2019

Quad-City Times on Rural Smart Shrinkage

Reporter Graham Ambrose spoke with Kimberly Zarecor and David Peters for this article on shrinking towns around the Quad Cities.


AUGUST / 16 / 2019

Rural Development Symposium – Ames, IA

David Peters presented on rural demographics at the Rural Development Symposium sponsored by Iowa State University Extension & Outreach on August 15, 2019.



AUGUST / 15 / 2019

NSF-funded Workshops on Redesigning the Urban-Rural Interface along the Mississippi River Watershed – Ames, IA

Research team members Kimberly Zarecor and David Peters helped to organize an NSF-funded workshop within the theme of Sustainable Urban Systems at Iowa State on Aug. 12-13, 2019. PI Zarecor, along with colleagues Ulrike Passe from Architecture and Jan Thompson from Natural Resource Ecology & Management, co-led the organization of the event with the assistance of an organizing committee including Co-PI Peters who presented one of the position papers.


MAY / 22 / 2019

ELGL Keynote / Kimberly Zarecor – Durham, NC

A team at Iowa State University is examining the relationship between population loss and quality of life in small and shrinking rural communities. Global economic and social trends predict that the number of people living in small towns and rural areas will continue to shrink. Policy makers have to decide how to manage these communities, which are often described as in decline and without many options for economic growth. The Rural Shrink Smart Project takes an in-depth look at a group of towns in Iowa to understand why some small communities continue to see stable and improving metrics on quality of life even as they shrink. This keynote session will present new findings, based on qualitative and quantitative data analysis, about people’s perceptions of life in small places and what local governments can do to stabilize and improve quality of life in their communities by adopting shrink smart strategies.


MAY / 21 / 2019

Developing a Convergence Sustainable Urban Systems (SUS) Agenda for Redesigning the Urban-Rural Interface along the Mississippi River Watershed

Iowa State faculty Ulrike Passe (Architecture), Jan Thompson (Natural Resource Ecology and Management), and Kimberly Zarecor (Architecture) have received funding from the National Science Foundation to led a workshop in August 2019 on Redesigning the Urban-Rural Interface (RURI) along the Mississippi River Watershed. Organizing committee members include project researcher David Peters (Sociology). Please find more information in the call for position statements:



FEBRUARY / 14 / 2019

Keynote Session: ELGL2019 – Durham, NC

Zarecor to Give ELGL2019 (Engaging Local Government Leaders) Keynote Session in Durham, NC (May 15-17, 2019)


NOVEMBER / 15 / 2018

Hamideh and Zarecor on IPR’s ‘Talk of Iowa’

Researchers Sara Hamideh and Kimberly Zarecor were interviewed on Talk of Iowa with host Charity Nebbe on Nov. 15. Listen to the interview starting at min. 31.



NOVEMBER / 13 / 2018

Smart Shrinkage and Social Infrastructure

Research in the news at Iowa State.

Press Release: https://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2018/10/31/shrink-smart

Iowa State Daily: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/app_content/iowa-state-small-town-shrinkage/article_4a398abc-e790-11e8-bbb4-676e5e9af0f2.html


OCTOBER / 29 / 2018

New Research Publication Journal of Rural Studies

The team has published our first peer-reviewed publication based on analysis of our Iowa Small Town Poll data set using Entrepreneurial Social Infrastructure (ESI) as a framework to understand smart shrinkage in rural communities.

Peters, D., Hamideh, S., Zarecor, K., Ghandour, M. “Using Entrepreneurial Social Infrastructure to Understand Smart Shrinkage in Small Towns,” Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 64 (November 2018): 39-49.


SEPTEMBER / 7 / 2018

Shrink-Smart featured on GovLove Podcast

Listen to Sara Hamideh, Eric Davis, and Kimberly Zarecor talk with host Ben Kittelson about our work on rural smart shrinkage.


AUGUST / 29 / 2018

Workshop at Iowa League of Cities Annual Meeting – Sept. 13

Kimberly Zarecor and David Peters will present at the Iowa Leagues of Cities Annual Meeting in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Sept. 13. Our workshop will share our preliminary results and research design with League members.


AUGUST / 24 / 2018

Illinois Newsroom – Blog Post on Rural Smart Shrinkage

Iowa NPR journalist Mary Hansen interviewed Kimberly Zarecor on smart shrinkage and how it might be useful for rural Illinois communities.



JULY / 12 / 2018

‘Brain gain’ in the Midwest on Iowa Public Radio

Iowa NPR reporter Amy Mayer talks with faculty researcher Sara Hamideh about ‘brain gain’ and how some small Iowa towns are able to attract new residents.



JULY / 7 / 2018

Smart Shrinkage in Mississippi

The Mississippi newspaper, The Natchez Democrat, picked up our shrink smart research in this July 6, 2018 editorial:


JUNE / 28 / 2018

Shrink-Smart for Kentucky Small Towns

Our research as reported on NPR gets a mention in this editorial in the The Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky.



JUNE / 24 / 2018

Smart Shrinkage in Iowa Ideas Magazine

David Peters talks with Iowa Gazette reporter B.A. Morelli about smart shrinkage for Iowa Ideas Magazine. Bancroft, one of the Iowa Small Town Poll communities, is featured in the story.





This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number #1952007. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.