Fallowses: The way Sioux Falls talks about itself has changed

July 30, 2019

Tom Hanks: Sioux Falls is ready for you.

That’s the message sent by James and Deborah Fallows, the reporting duo who recently made a repeat trip to Sioux Falls, filming a documentary that will air on HBO next year.

They originally visited as part of their American Futures project, reporting for The Atlantic. After their magazine story ran, it became a book called “Our Towns,” detailing their cross-country journey.

When Tom Hanks read it, he tweeted how he might move to Sioux Falls.

“The town’s all ready for you, Mr. Hanks,” James Fallows wrote in a piece published online earlier this month for The Atlantic, noting a wall of signatures from guest artists at the Washington Pavilion and an interactive keyboard in the science center similar to the one in the movie “Big.”

Even more notable, though, are the observations the couple made about how the city has changed since their 2013 trip.

“It now has a dramatically spiffed-up and revitalized downtown, compared with our last visit several years ago — offsetting the malls and sprawl-growth around its periphery that we discussed here,” Fallows wrote. “The downtown has new hotels and restaurants and stores and pubs; many more residential condos and lofts; a much richer array of outdoor public art in its ambitious SculptureWalk; and generally a sense of more active street life.”

In an online piece for the magazine published Monday, Deborah Fallows put together two contrasting “word clouds” showing how the way Sioux Falls talks about itself has changed.

This is the one from 2013:

And this is one from this summer:

“We found a more mature, nuanced town,” she wrote.

“Some early initiatives had come to fruition, like the expanded SculptureWalk and the capstone of sculpture, the gallant Arc of Dreams, which soars across the Big Sioux River. Or the additional blocks and blocks of new restaurants, bars, shops and hip lofts stretching down the main street. Others remained a work in progress. Some problems, opioid addictions above all, were much more front of mind, proof that Sioux Falls was in sync with the rest of America.”

To read the pieces, click here. 

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Fallowses: The way Sioux Falls talks about itself has changed

Tom Hanks: Sioux Falls is ready for you. That’s according to James and Deborah Fallows, the reporting duo who recently made a repeat trip to Sioux Falls to film a documentary that will air on HBO next year. Here’s what they had to say.

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