"All great places have two things in them: one foot in memory and one foot in prophecy." - Thunder at Twilight, Vienna 1913-1914

Gateway and Natural Amenity Regions (GNARs) often place as much value on their community’s character as they do on their surrounding natural amenities. Many GNAR communities maintain a strong sense of place and identity, including a “small town feel." This happens intentionally, through the ways that a community interprets and shares its history, designs and maintains its built environment, and protects and provides access to recreational opportunities and natural landscapes. Below you will find resources for helping take stock of your community values and ways to ensure their protection. Do you have any questions or is there something missing that you would like to see here? Please reach out to

Resources & Tools

Finding Our Sense of Place: Webinar
In November 2020, USU Research Landscapes did a webinar and workshop with Jake Powell, regarding how a community can start finding their sense of place and what makes them special. The webinar also had an accompanying workbook. Click below to watch.

Citizens' Institute on Rural Design: Local Identity and Character Toolkit
citizens institute
The Citizen's Institute on Rural Design has a number of resources across a variety of topics for rural communities. This links to their local identity and character toolkit.

Main Street America
main street resource center
Main Street America Network helps to breathe new life into the places people call home. The Main Street Resource Center has a broad range of member resources, including signature Main Street Approach handbooks and guides, and newly released revitalization toolkit.

Research & Case Studies