This project focuses on factors affecting the perception of quality of life in small and shrinking rural communities in Iowa. The goal is to help communities focus their limited resources on improving quality of life rather than using scarce resources to try to grow (as this is unlikely in most towns). Residents and leaders of small rural towns are collaborators and stakeholders of the umbrella NSF project. The team is building a community information ecosystem that will be available through an online web application. This ecosystem makes use of publicly available data and links it to some proprietary data sets to help communities understand, utilize, and collect new data about their towns and peer communities. The ecosystem will use statistical modeling and cutting-edge visualization strategies to make data more accessible to stakeholders in these communities, including city staff, local leaders, and the public. 

Teaser Video

Zoom Link



Amanda Rae 

Iowa State University





Laailah Ali 

Washington State University




Max Ruehle 

Iowa State University




Jack Studier 

Iowa State University





Heike Hoffman

Professor, Iowa State University


Kim Zarecor 

Iowa State University 

Other Advisors

Gina Nichols

Graduate Student, Iowa State University