Thursday, July 8, 2010

Listen to Debora on NPR's On Point

It seems like only yesterday that the Great Plains, the magnificent center of the country, was being written off as an economic basket case. Towns boarding up. People leaving.

The case was made to give the region back to Mother Nature. To make it a “buffalo commons” again.

Oh, how things change. Today, while so much of the country is struggling economically, the cities of the Great Plains are booming. Don’t laugh at Fargo. It’s got jobs. Agriculture and the energy biz, low costs – and low wages.

Listen to the On Point radio show at:


Joel Kotkin, author of the Newsweek article “The Great Great Plains: How heartland cities like Fargo and Omaha became the nation’s new boomtowns.” His latest book is “The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050.” He’s a distinguished fellow in urban futures at Chapman University in California.

Debora Dragseth, associate professor of business at Dickinson University in North Dakota. She’s author of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?,” a study on the outmigration of North Dakota college students.

Frank Popper originated the idea of the “Buffalo Commons” — along with his wife, Deborah Popper — in their 1987 article in “Planning Magazine,” “The Great Plains: From Dust to Dust.” He is professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University and also teaches in the environmental studies program at Princeton University.

Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine. He writes Forbes’ “Digital Rules” blog. He’s author of “Life 2.0: How People Across America Are Transforming Their Lives by Finding the Where of Their Happiness.”

Sunday, July 4, 2010

NewGeography: "Sponge Cities on the Great Plains" by Debora Dragseth

“Sponge cities” is an apt metaphor to describe urban communities in rural states like North Dakota which grow soaking up the residents of surrounding small towns, farms and ranches. North Dakota’s four largest cities, Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot, are growing in large part due to the young adults who for decades gone elsewhere to other regions. In the process, rural North Dakota is facing a protracted population crisis as significant numbers of its small communities are on a slow slide to extinction. This migration pattern is not new, nor is it unique to North Dakota.
Continue reading at

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quoted in Forbes and Newsweek

This month I had the opportunity to meet author and demographer, Joel Kotkin, at the Great Plains YP (Young Professionals) Summit in Bismarck, ND. I was there giving a speech on Happiness.

Joel quoted me in Forbes (see below). Read Joel Kotkin's entire article at

Read the Newsweek article, "Why the Great Plains are Great Once Again," at

Business Watch Magazine: "The Advance of Oil" by Debora Dragseth

The last big oil boom in North Dakota began on Christmas Day in 1976 with a discovery well in Little Knife and ended in 1986 when the world oil market collapsed. Technology and world markets have clearly evolved, this piece from Business Watch Magazine looks at other similarities and differences between the oil boom of a generation ago and the oil boom that western North Dakota is experiencing today.

Read the article at