“Hegemony” begins with Captain Batel (Melanie Scrofano) on a mission with Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush). They are checking in on Parnassus Beta and distributing supplies and vaccinations as they are needed. In a voiceover, Batel notes that the colony’s founders “designed it on the ‘Small Town’ model, made to look like the Old Midwestern United States.”
This is, of course, a hand wave. “Star Trek” has never established that its colonies follow any kind of pre-set community models. Occasionally, the Enterprise might find a distant settlement that still lives an agrarian lifestyle or still behaves like it’s late 19th-Century Ireland, but these seem to be framed as deliberate utopian experiments, bold community exercises employed by tech-wary idealists who want to get “back to the Earth.” These aren’t presented as pre-set civic templates for potential Federation worlds. Although one might amuse themselves imagining the brainstorming sessions of the community planners: “We need to build a new colony. Let’s make this one look like, I dunno, Peoria in 1989. Use Peoria Template 361-F. Be sure to include a VHS rental store. Get them back to the Earth.”
One might imagine that a “Small Town” model might be similar to the way the Amish live in the present day. They reject modernity and embrace tradition. That philosophy may also be applied to cost-saving as well.
But even the most stalwart Trekkies are likely amused enough by the show’s cost-cutting measure to bother folding the logic of Parnassus Beta into “Trek” canon. More than anything, we all appreciate the subtle wink at the fact that an alien world looks almost exactly like a small town in Ontario where “Strange New Worlds” films. Sometimes, a show’s cheapness can be part of its charm.