American Roundtable illustrates its pitch with this photo from Blairsburg, Iowa, by Mitch Epstein
American communities, including rural ones, are changing because of economic conditions, migration patterns, politics, climate change, racial tension and more. The Architectural League of New York, an organization devoted to architecture and design, is launching an initiative meant to provide readers with a better picture of what's happening in less-populated areas and why.

American Roundtable is meant to "bring together on-the-ground perspectives on the condition of American communities and what they need to thrive going forward," says its website. "The Architectural League will commission up to 10 editorial teams to produce reports featuring diverse voices, expressed through diverse media, creating portraits and agendas for places they know well. . . . Commissioned teams will be awarded $10,000 to support their work, which will be published digitally on and in a series of print publications."

The project is open to communities of up to 300,000 population, so The Rural Blog asked it to clarify just how rural the projects are likely to be. The response: "We very much hope to, and intend to, include truly rural regions and small towns. A major intention of the project is to hear from places that often do not reach the national conversation. We are also very conscious of and wish to avoid the situation of people from major metropolitan and coastal regions, reporting 'on' the situation in smaller locales. The hope for the project is to commission people truly from and a part of the communities under discussion. The exact spread of community size will be determined by the proposals we receive, but we fully intend to include a number of rural regions/small towns in the mix." 

Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday, Feb. 18. Those that demonstrate close ties and in-depth knowledge of their communities will be favored. Click here for more information about the project and the proposal process. American Roundtable is supported partly by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.