The First Impressions program was designed to help communities learn about their strengths and shortcomings through the "fresh eyes" of first-time visitors. This Extension-led community assessment program has been implemented in over 500 communities since the 1990s, yet scant literature exists regarding the program's theoretical foundations or best practices for implementation or evaluation. To address increasing interest in the program among Extension professionals nationwide, we aim to encourage new scholarship regarding the program's use and impacts by providing an overview of how the program works; a discussion of theoretical foundations of the program from geography, urban planning, and psychology literature; and suggestions for improving program efficacy.

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