New technologies like 3-D printers and laser cutters have boosted entrepreneurial activity in American communities.
Two and a half years ago, James Fallows wrote an article about the changing state of American manufacturing. He argued that developments such as 3-D printing are enabling startup companies to capitalize on "a strategy that combines quick response, local skills, and a global marketplace to foster manufacturing in U.S. cities."
And over the past 20 months, our American Futures reporting team that Jim leads has visited nearly a score of small and medium-sized cities around the country, generally taking note of developments and patterns that are key to understanding how America is changing—the shift in immigration or racial patterns, the rise or fall of a regional economy, the change in industrial base, or the shifting flow of trade or manufacturing.