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Other stories by Margot Carmichael Lester

  • St. Louis, Mo.

    Home to American icon the Gateway Arch, St. Louis is getting an edgier reputation, thanks to a rise in biotech and medical research.

  • Kansas City, Kan.

    The western half of metropolitan Kansas City is beginning to catch up to its Missouri sibling through a series of residential and commercial initiatives.

  • Bellingham, Wash.

    Growth is welcome in Bellingham, where 220 acres of prime waterfront property are being redeveloped, but there's little agreement on the form it will take.

  • St. George, Utah

    From 2000 to 2006, the retirement and recreation mecca that is St. George was the fastest growing metro area in the country.

  • Charlotte, N.C.

    Smart development options downtown and on the outskirts are keeping the banking and finance hub that is Charlotte on an upward course.

  • Portland, Maine

    One of the few working waterfronts left in the United States, Portland is expanding beyond its seafaring tradition and embracing an entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Omaha, Neb.

    Omaha, a hub for the building and design industries, has been undergoing a facelift since the mid-'90s, much of it along the Missouri River.

  • The Planner

    "An effective city planner needs to be a gatekeeper, negotiator, and advocate for community values that have been identified by the appointed and elected bodies," says local architect Paul Trementozzi, principal of OZ Architecture. Fort Collins planning director Joe Frank is all of the above.

  • Tucson, Ariz.

    The Sonoran Desert city of Tucson is more than sunshine and golf. There's a top university and an emerging high-tech industry, too.

  • Des Moines, Iowa

    Des Moines was developed during the City Beautiful movement. Today, the prairie town is returning to those roots with a rash of thoughtful construction.