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Christian Science Monitor reports from Youngstown. My brother, Hunter, expresses the challenge we now face across the Great Lakes. How do we creatively shrink cities?
When the steel mills closed more than 30 years ago, Youngstown was left without much of the stable, middle-class base that kept the city humming. Thousands of vacant properties now blight city streets, and natives often find themselves the only remaining residents on a block that once housed 10 families.
But without manufacturing, the city was forced to redefine itself, says Hunter Morrison, director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at Youngstown State University. Successfully reorienting a dying city requires identifying what strengths the city has left and building out from there, he says.
“It’s the big bang theory: Just the way the universe expands it also contracts, and when you contract you go back to the core,” says Mr. Morrison, an early architect of the 2010 plan. For cities in flux, the core becomes any kind of business that can’t go anywhere – the permanent economic engines, Morrison says. With the steel mills gone, what’s left in Youngstown is a university and a couple of hospitals – “eds and meds,” city planners say.
“We’re going from a mill town to a college town,” Morrison says. Youngstown State is far from an economic and research powerhouse, but, he says, it’s the city’s best hope for a future, and it’s here to stay.
“The university has 14,000 immigrants to the knowledge economy every year,” he says. “If we link and leverage our resources, more will stay here.”
A Rust Belt city tries to shrink its way to success
Strategy Session 2009 | Presentations by:
Chris Ronayne, University Circle Inc. Terry Schwarz, Cleveland State Urban Design Collaborative/Shrinking Cities Institute
May 29th, 2009
Here’s yet another example of how Cleveland’s leadership has drifted out of touch with the underlying realities of the regional economy..
It’s laughable. These folks have a political tin ear. (What will faculty, students, or state legislators think when reading this story?)
As for the new Prez: He appears oblivious to his image as the head of a public institution in a time of extraordinary fiscal stress.
Not a good sign.
Here’s one metric to keep matters in perspective. Cleveland State is a relatively small public research university.
You might also want to read: Are university presidents overpaid?
The Chronicle of Higher Education keeps track of compensation for university presidents. Learn more.
Check out this link Marc Canter sent out yesterday:
High-tech start-ups are increasingly setting up shop in places previously not known for attracting high-tech firms.
A number of cities, such as Kalamazoo, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio, are offering grant money and tax breaks to high-tech start-ups, just as the usual venture-capital hot spots, such as Silicon Valley and Boston, continue to see a pullback in venture lending. Many of the nontraditional cities require that start-ups receiving grants invest in their area, leaving companies little choice but to locate — or relocate — their businesses.
Firms also are being lured by the lower cost of doing business in such cities. And, as the number of high-tech start-ups increases in these areas, existing companies find that as they grow, they no longer have to leave Ohio, Michigan and other states that traditionally have had less to offer in the way of high-tech communities and investors…
May 26th, 2009
Incumbent Councilman Brian Cummins to contest seat in newly established Ward 14
See full announcement at:
Five main issues sited as major concerns of new Ward 14 residents and businesspersons:
- “Safety. People want to feel safe in their homes, on their streets and in their neighborhoods…
- Jobs and economic development…They want job growth and appropriate development sought out and achieved.
- Housing conditions and values. People want to see vacant and abandon homes and lots on their streets properly maintained, rehabilitated and put back to good use…
- Infrastructure and City services. Citizens want reliable and responsive City services and solutions to chronic problems with the City’s aging infrastructure…
- Tired of the same old politics. People want to stop the polarization of their community. They want new, positive leadership that respects differences of opinion and helps build consensus to move the community forward. They want to get beyond divisiveness, alleged corruption and questionable motives. People want to be heard, respected for their ideas and concerns and served with integrity and dignity.”…
Some interesting perspectives from around the country…
Web site connects green business ideas
Food Web, Meet Interweb: The Networked Future of Farms Biotech’s third wave The Oroville Regional Promise Cities Striving to Be Green Renewables: America’s next heavy industry Innovative economy vital to take cities into the future What’s Wrong With Our Cities? A Two-Minute Video Explains
Great quote Frank:
“I know it sounds counterintuitive, but right now, in a recession, is when you want to open a business,” said Revy, a slightly scruffy-looking but professional-sounding 38-year-old financial planner who had Mangia restaurant in Lakewood in the 1990s.
“But if you make it now, imagine your success when the economy turns around.”