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[5 Aug 2013 | No Comment | ]
Shared Responsibility for Detroit’s Woes

As a Michigander for the past 21 years, I’ve heard my share of Detroit criticisms, jokes, and put downs, both from within and outside the Great Lakes State. While fingers can be  pointed at the lack of past civic and political leadership in Detroit, our collective actions (or lack thereof) can certainly share in the responsibility. Some may scoff at such a notion, but here’re a few reasons why:

As a nation we elected leaders who adopted a tax code and laws that advocated, promoted, and accelerated flight from cities and …

Architecture, Economic Development, Editorial, Featured, Headline, Politics, Real Estate, The Media, Urban Planning »

[9 May 2013 | No Comment | ]
Gaming the Economic Development System

Once again, it appears that “build it and celebrate it” no matter the past sins (or future consequences) reigns supreme among economic developers. While hyping an announcement of more jobs and new construction in Greater Lansing, the fact that the insurance company in question challenged its property taxes using the “functionally obsolete building” scheme in 2010 was conveniently overlooked (see article in City Pulse).

Source: freep.com

If you are not familiar with the “functionally obsolete” tax game that is being employed most often by big box retailers, the claim that is made is …

Featured, The Media »

[15 Apr 2013 | No Comment | ]
White Entreprenuerial Guy Meme

So, okay. On one hand, I’m sorta hesitant to share this because, of course, stereotyping people by class and race — whether they’re rich or poor, black or white — is kind of a crappy thing to do.

But this White Entrepreneurial Guy meme out of Detroit — in addition to stereotyping people by race and class — also raises some pretty important points about privilege in post industrial cities.

I’m going to share a few of my favorites that remind me of different situations recently in Cleveland. There are like a million of these things, which shows it really touched a nerve. Some of them are pretty spot on, I think, while others, I think, are garbage.

Crime, Economic Development, Featured, The Big Urban Photography Project, The Media, Urban Poverty »

[11 Feb 2013 | No Comment | ]
Burned: A Photo Essay on Arson in Toledo

Why should we, as a community, care about arson and its impact on the Rust Belt?

Art, The Media »

[22 Jan 2013 | No Comment | ]

The European cultural channel ARTE recently zoomed in on the city of Pittsburgh as part of a look at a sort of everyman’s America in the days leading up to the 2012 presidential election. You should check out the whole project here. It was inspired
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Featured, The Media »

[29 Nov 2012 | One Comment | ]
“Saving” the Plain Dealer

There’s a campaign going on right now in Cleveland to preserve the seven-day-a-week print version of the Plain Dealer. It is led by reporters at the paper with support from their union. The paper’s owner, Advance Publications, has hinted that there are big changes coming, and reporters apparently suspect that the company is planning what they did to their New Orleans Times Picayune — which is go to a three-day-a-week print schedule and focus more on the online product. The reporters have good reason to be concerned about their jobs; …

Art, The Media »

[2 Aug 2012 | No Comment | ]

This commercial aired during the last Super Bowl. It seems to borrow from the “Imported from Detroit” ads by Chrysler in highlighting the strength and endurance of hard-luck Rust Belt cities. Its focused us Buffalo and it’s an ad for a local television station, I believe.
Chrysler wasn’t the first company to seize on the blend of nostalgia and sympathy for Rust Belt cities in an attempt to move products. As we’ve reported, Levi’s famously used Braddock, Pennsylvania to sell jeans, and Pallidium boots used Detroit’s industrial ruins to sell boots.
As …

Brain Drain, Economic Development, Education, Headline, Public Education, The Media, Urban Planning »

[11 Jun 2012 | One Comment | ]
‘Smartest’ US Cities Have a Rusty Tint

According to a June 6, 2012, story by Richard Florida published by The Atlantic Cities, a recent analysis by Lumosity shows that more than half of the 25 smartest cities in the United States are situated in the Rust Belt. In order to calculate the smartest metropolitan areas, the article indicates the following research methodology was utilized:

“…scientists at Lumosity tracked the cognitive performance of more than one million users in the United States on their games, mapping them across U.S. metros using IP geolocation software.

The Media »

[10 Apr 2012 | No Comment | ]

Forbes is fascinated with Youngstown, but they’re not quite sure what to make of the place:
America’s #10 Worst City for Jobs (4/08)
America’s #3 Fastest Dying City (8/08)
America’s #1 Downsized City (3/09)
America’s #3 Cheapest Homes for Sale (9/09)
America’s #8 Place with the Fewest Newcomers (10/09)
America’s #4 Best City for Finding A Job This Winter (12/10)
America’s #14 Most Miserable City (2/11)
Honorable Mention: Best Cities for Raising a Family (4/12)
–This post comes to us via Tyler Clark, a Youngstown homeowner with a job and kids.

Architecture, Art, Economic Development, Headline, Regionalism, The Environment, The Media »

[2 Apr 2012 | One Comment | ]
15 Scenic Cities of the Rust Belt

No one can deny the awe-inspiring scenic beauty of Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, or Salt Lake City. But, often overlooked are the splendid topographic and geographic settings where a number of Rust Belt cities are situated. Beautiful city settings of the Rust Belt may not get the national notoriety and ink of their western competitors, but some are equally endowed with great scenery. Here’s a list of 15 Rust Belt cities that I feel are a visual delight: