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As mentioned in introductory installments #1 and #2, this month my wife and I are kicking off an open-ended exploration of smaller-town America. The idea is to learn about places that illustrate under-reported aspects of current American realities -- economic, technological, social, demographic, and all the rest. It's the classic American road trip, by small plane.

We have spent a lot of time reading, interviewing, thinking about, and collecting suggestions on small cities we should visit. This process is a combination of art and science -- of planning, and allowing for surprise. The most valuable suggestions we've gotten so far have come from people who say: I know just the kind of place you're looking for. Let me tell you about it ... 

We'd like to collect your suggestions: what is a smaller American town whose story deserves more attention? "Smaller" is a flexible definition. The simplest approximation might be: a place that doesn't get much national notice and is rarely in the news. (For instance: Aspen, Colorado, is a small town but wouldn't qualify; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is fairly large, but does.) We'll be grateful for your thoughts, via the form below.

In subsequent installments we'll be reporting on results and suggestions -- and sharing an updated working list of the next round of places we have in mind. Our first swing, starting this week, takes us to the upper Midwest and Plains states. Soon we'll show a list of candidate cities for your reactions and further advice.