Greenville in The Atlantic’s “American Futures” Series


THEATLANTICGreenville is yet again the topic of national conversation.

This time, an exploration of the Upstate is the focus of an ongoing special report for The Atlantic, titled “American Futures: Reinvention and Resilience Across the Nation,” piloted by author and national correspondent James Fallows and accompanied by his wife, linguist Deborah Fallows.

In his first mention of the series on his blog, he says, “I have been on the road in the South, and staying in a place with no Internet, and doing interviews for another American Futures installment—this one about the way textile-dependent Southern cities have and have not recovered after those mills went away. That’s what my wife and I will be talking about in the days ahead.”

In this ongoing project, he will offer multiple Greenville-centric reports. In the first–Separated at Birth? Greenville, Sioux Falls–he compared Greenville to another place he’d visited for “American Futures.”

During his most recent visit to Greenville, James Fallows reached out to Executive Editor Susan Clary Simmons via email to gain insight on his reports.

He mentioned that Greenville was one of the biggest cities they had been to for this project and explained that through his blog, he received reader feedback that put a visit to Greenville on his radar.  He also mentioned that they had been talking with some business and political leaders here.

Simmons and UBJ senior business writer Jennifer Oladipo met with the Fallowses for coffee at one of our many independent coffee houses downtown. Two main theories discussed concerning Greenville’s revitalization:

1There are people with money and leadership that invest their assets in their own town. Other towns or cities that have not followed the successful revitalization model that Greenville has do not have people (or as many as we do) willing to risk their capital like Greenvillians have.

2There are people in leadership positions (many governmental) that have not only realized the value of developing public and private partnerships, but have figured out how to make public and private partnerships work successfully.


In his second post about Greenville, Welcome to Greenville and ‘The Upstate’, he says, “One of many intriguing aspects of Greenville’s economic and civic-improvement development effort is how deeply they have relied on ‘public-private partnerships,’ in which state and city governments have taken active steering roles for corporate and philanthropic efforts.” (Our former home, the Innovate Building, even makes a cameo appearance here).

Do you agree with this theory? And if so, which public-private partnerships do you believe have had the biggest impact on Upstate development–both economically and culturally?

Also make sure to read Fallows’ latest Greenville post that was published yesterday–In Which I Develop New Respect for the Wedding-Industrial Complex–and continue to follow the series.

We are certainly looking forward to the stories that will unfold.




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