Could this be Chico?

These 11 signs of reinvention and renewal are familiar indeed

The author is a professor of religious studies and former dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Chico State.

In the March issue of The Atlantic, distinguished national correspondent James Fallows reports on a three-year national reporting tour that took him all over the United States and helped him with the premise, “How America is putting itself back together.”

Although a common opinion is that the country is going to hell, Fallows surprisingly found much reason for hope. In many medium-size cities, he found ample reinvention and renewal. As he was reaching his conclusions, he identified 11 signs that a city will succeed:

1. Divisive national politics seem a distant concern. (There was a focus on practical problems the community could address.)

2. You can pick out the local patriots. (People have ready answers to the question, “Who makes the town go?”)

3. Public-private partnerships are real. (People can readily point to successful partnerships.)

4. People know the civic story. (People can tell the town story.)

5. They have a downtown. (This is the quickest single marker of a successful town.)

6. They are near a research university. (They lift the economy by bringing in a student population and their faculty and staff incubate start-ups.)

7. They have, and care about, a community college. (These connect citizens to their possible futures.)

8. They have unusual schools. (People can point to success stories in education.)

9. They make themselves open. (They are pleased to attract the new and they are not anti-immigrant.)

10. They have big plans. (Cities can do things, and they are ahead of federal gridlock)

11. They have craft breweries. (This means a city that is going somewhere.)

Accompanying the article is a map showing Fallows’ reporting journey. There are only dots, no names. One of the dots is in Northern California, midway between the ocean and the state’s eastern border. Could this be Chico?