Micropolitan areas (between 10,000 and 50,000 people) are not immune to economic shocks that threaten their vitality. Factors related to economic shocks can range from local companies leaving a town or national economic crises affecting local economies. Using the perspective of local micropolitan area stakeholders, this research seeks to identify why certain micropolitan areas recover from an economic shock while others do not. The research included the case study of two micropolitan areas in the U.S. Midwest (one resilient and one vulnerable), based on 22 interviews with key stakeholders representing diverse for-profit and government organizations. Our results reveal differences in the collective capacity and its underlying practices in the two micropolitan areas. We found that stakeholders built collective capacity by aligning effort, interacting face-to-face, supporting participation, sharing identity and building organizational capacity. Collective capacity ultimately enhanced the resilient micropolitan area’s ability to
adopt place-based, or localized, strategies at a higher rate and larger scale than the vulnerable micropolitan area. The results contribute to theory of constitutive collaboration and help policy makers and stakeholders make informed decisions regarding practices to promote economic resilience.
Keywords: Micropolitans, Resilience, Economic Shocks