about this site
Urban Escapee is dedicated to artists, changemakers, and entrepreneurs who are remaking, reimagining, and revitalizing our smallest cities, also known as micropolitans.
Not all small towns are micropolitans. A micropolitan requires a walkable urban infrastructure anchored by a downtown. It must also possess arts & culture indicating it is both “micro” and “cosmopolitan”.
The “Micropolitan Manifesto” illustrates the converging themes of city design, urbanism, environmental entrepreneurship and indie-biz economic development present in these locations and discussed at this site.
I’m Katie McCaskey and I’m on adventure to remake & revitalize our rural urbanism through creative entrepreneurship.
I believe that building an independent business is one of the most creative, challenging, and rewarding experiences. It also has the power to reawaken and reinvent our downtowns…not only in neighborhoods in our “big cities,” but critically, in our smallest micropolitans, too. (Read the “Micropolitan Manifesto” to understand why!)
I believe we can create businesses that revitalize everything—including about the way we live. Business building in our Main Streets and downtowns can increase our sense of community, reduce our car travel, and build towards happier, healthier, and stronger futures for us all.
I am not an architect or urban planner. I do not think the free market solves all. Rather, I am an advocate and advisor to like-minded entreprenuers who are changing our city’s streetscapes for the better, where they are needed most: in our micropolitans.
Ironically, I didn’t think much about urbanism until I left New York City.
Previously I’d lived and worked in Sydney and in Los Angeles; yet, in 2008 I decided to “escape” the city. I bought a house in Staunton, Virginia, (population 22,000, 2-1/2 hours southwest of Washington, D.C.). This micropolitan has large appeal for its walkability and creative character—it embodies both “micro” and “cosmopolitan”… In fact, it was rated the #1 micropolitan in Virginia and in the top 20 nationwide by Site Selection magazine. (Thoughts about that here.)
More importantly, Staunton is also my childhood home.
Shortly after our move my husband and I opened a neighborhood grocery/cafe. The markets crashed and a series of events nearly brought us down — but that’s another story! In fact, it’s one that was told first at Salon and later on the national public radio show, The Story. We’ve even been in The New York Times! Happily, we’ve since moved to a new location and expanded with a patio beer garden. Yep, we’re living the dream!
Being a business owner is the game that never ends; it is constantly challenging and rewarding.There are so many parallels between community building, business building, and economic/environmental revitalization. Right now, there are endless opportunities, too. That’s why I’m writing a book for those who want to do the same.
Join me in escaping the status quo, building a business, and remaking our micropolitans!
I work with passion-driven, place-conscious, change-making entrepreneurs.
My clients are generous, creative business owners proud to be making a contribution in their communities. I help clients develop and execute branding and content marketing strategies that support brick-and-mortar businesses. Through collaborative coaching we harness our brainpower and dreampower to revitalize Main Street. Instead of working for others, we work on putting our passion out into the streets—literally!
P.S. Occasionally I mention books on this site. I only include affiliate links on items I’ve actually read and recommend. However, I prefer that you check these books out from your local library, or, (even better!), purchase them from your local bookseller — because ultimately this site is about is revitalizing our local economies so more of us can enjoy vibrant places to live, work, and play. Libraries and indie bookstores are part of that equation!