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Lack of a clear community image, or the presence of a negative or ambivalent image, may emerge during your S.T.A.R.T. Economic Development strategic planning sessions as a reason for economic difficulties. Image problems are often perceived as a major cause of declining sales, conflicts, residents shopping elsewhere, and young people leaving. Although a negative image may be only part of the reason for (or a product of) economic decline, it usually has some influence on the community economy. Image is manifest in feelings of pride or embarrassment about the community-its streets, houses, lawns, city buildings, and businesses. A lack of community image can make speaking with pride difficult or impossible. Most important, it may be a critical hurdle to overcome before moving forward with economic development.