In an age that celebrates global free trade and Wal-Mart, a time when anything in the world can be found online, does anyone really care what happens in our local communities? Yes, and perhaps more than ever. As Rebecca Solnit illustrates in "Hollow City," a sense of place still matters—and she fears her beloved San Francisco is losing its magic as many residents are forced out by the rocketing economy. Pythia Peay also believes every town possesses its own valuable spirit—and in "Soul Searching" she shows us how to uncover what’s special about the places we live. Take the quiz by Nicholas Albery, a visionary London Internet entrepreneur, to see if your daily diet is deficient in the all-important Vitamin T (tribe-like connections to the people around you). And Peter Katz, who travels the country lecturing about what makes communities work, picks "The Ten Most Underrated Towns in America," telling us what these places are doing right.
What makes a city great? Join Utne Reader editor Jay Walljasper in the Cafe Utne Cities conference: cafe.utne.com