The Place Matters Conference, held on November 12, 1998 in St. Paul, Minnesota, drew together a mix of businesses, organizations and individuals who, by their very nature, believe that place does indeed matter. These participants were all firmly anchored in their communities, representing small businesses, financial institutions, community-based nonprofits, farmers, and local governments in Minnesota. They were a mix of people who did not normally interact, yet had much in common. They shared a remarkably similar recent history: economic and public policy trends that had made their long-term viability much more tenuous and uncertain.
The conversations from the day highlighted several challenges and strategies for these place-based organizations, which are summarized in this first section of the conference summary report. The summary includes, "Defending Place," the text of the opening remarks given by David Morris, Vice President of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The final sections are Field Notes written by participants prior to the conference to provide an overview of the trends and challenges faced in their own sector and to outline strategies and potential solutions. A list of conference participants is provided in the appendix.