Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


So many people were instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. My advisor Professor David Lanegran, my honors committee members Professor Laura Smith and Professor Holly Barcus, and the rest of the Macalester Geography Department supported and guided me through the process. My fellow Honors Geography peers brought life and fun to the more stressful parts of the project. The staff of Main Street Square and Destination Rapid City allowed me to participate in their organization and were so generous with their time and information. The greater Rapid City regional community gave me both inspiration and information on a multitude of levels. My amazing friends, especially my roommate Jenny Wollner, encouraged me to be excited and dedicated in this geography endeavor. And lastly, my glorious parents Ray and Lyn Tysdal, whose love has given me the most solid foundation for life.


By many quantitative measures set by the United States Census and academic literature, Rapid City, South Dakota is an urban settlement. However, Rapid City is a thriving example of how a city and its residents willfully and overtly ascribe to a rural identity. This rural character is very present in local discussions, events, lifestyles, and institutions in Rapid City. As recently as 2012, the previously fading downtown of Rapid City has undergone a renewal that cannot escape notice. Main Street Square, a new downtown attraction that provides outdoor gathering spaces for entertainment, recreation, and cuisine, has brought new life to a downtown area that was otherwise dormant. This downtown revitalization ascribes to a brand based on situational rurality and the lifestyle of the local community. This paper elaborates on downtown Rapid City’s recent renaissance and how it has reinforced its unique dual nature as a rural city.



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