Rob Snyder is the president of the Island Institute. His monthly column explores the issues, ideas, and people that motivate the Institute's work.

  • Stockholm
    October 26

    Our social ties are very tight along the coast, and there is a great deal of information available to leaders working to solve community challenges.

    Media, Economic Development, Aquaculture & Marine

  • Mussel raft.
    September 22

    To call this an industry would be a stretch, but they are certainly a group of businesses with the potential to become an industry. What would the industrial scale look like? Well, there will be choices.

  • Vinalhaven Harbor lobster crates
    August 26

    It has been a good summer on the coast of Maine, and for those who like to learn, it can be a place where community members are happy to become teachers, and in the process they lend depth to our understanding of the debates about who we are becoming.

    Community Development, Media, Economic Development, Aquaculture & Marine

  • electric grid
    July 20

    That ability to know each other makes it possible to talk about what happens when the lights go out, and how to get them back on.

    Media, Economic Development, Community Energy

  • Dockland Fish Pier
    June 15

    What is the value of a fishing permit when the 18 stocks on that permit are in various states of collapse or rebuilding?

    Media, Economic Development

  • Senter Crane building
    May 19

    Earlier this year, I found myself among the most committed of preservationists at PastForward, the annual conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I was invited talk about impact investing for the purposes of proactive preservation.

    Media, Community Energy

  • gavel
    April 17

    Town meeting is a celebration at best, or a tense endurance test at worst. Sometimes, it's both. It really depends on what seat you're in.

    Community Development

  • Susan Margaret photo
    March 26

    If you ask a lobsterman if he works from a business plan, the response might be something like, "I'm trying to get through next week," or "I take it year by year." Some will say that they used to have one, but they stopped when the timing of the shed became so unpredictable.

    Aquaculture & Marine

  • Sitka, Alaska.
    March 9

    Sitka, Alaska is firmly anchored to the western shore of snow-capped Baranof Island. At just under 9,000 people, it is the fifth largest city in a state of 750,000. Alaska's rural libertarian character echoes Maine's.

    Community Development, Community Energy