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[6 Aug 2013 | No Comment | ]

Idora Park was one of those local amusement parks all rust belt cities used to have before, you know, cars, highways, economic implosion. Now the 20-some acres that used to be a gathering place of Youngstown residents in the city’s heyday is an overgrown field. When I was working as a reporter in the city, some shady megachurch had brought the property and wanted to turn it into a “city of God,” with gold paved streets and everything. But they couldn’t seem to keep the tax bill paid.
This video remembers …

Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, Politics, Real Estate, Regionalism, The Environment, Uncategorized, Urban Planning, Urban Poverty »

[9 Jul 2012 | No Comment | ]
Niagara Falls: Reversing decline in a bipolar city

My definition of bipolar urban areas are those that have two principal cities at their core, but they have each taken nearly opposite paths socioeconomically. The two cities posses an almost Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-like qualities – one being quite healthy and prosperous while the other may suffer from poverty, economic distress, or environmental degradation. While every significant urban area has its areas of poverty, distress, and degradation, a bipolar region varies in the fact that one of two primary core communities is the site of concentrated problems.

Uncategorized, Urban Farming, Urban Poverty »

[20 Feb 2012 | No Comment | ]

It was 4:15 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Snowflakes were drifting down and there was already a line of 50 people waiting outside the North Lansing Police Precinct gymnasium in the February cold for food. Some of them had already been there more than an hour and the distribution was not set to start for another 90 minutes or so.  On this Friday night, we were not celebrating the bright lights of the gridiron, but instead trying to fulfill the basic needs of the less fortunate.

I had the distinct honor of …

Architecture, Featured, Good Ideas, Sprawl, Uncategorized, Urban Planning »

[6 Feb 2012 | No Comment | ]
Doing laps around the “Circle City”

My hometown of Indianapolis has been a logically designed community based on traditional geometric shapes ever since it’s designer Alexander Ralston first put pen to paper. Monument Circle (source of the ‘Circle City’ nickname) sits at the heart of the original mile square, with a radiating street pattern extending outward from there, though it becomes more grid-oriented in the midtown areas. Later, an outer loop (not circle) was created by Interstate 465 and a near perfect oval was constructed for high-speed excitement and adventure in the suburb of Speedway. Because of Monument Circle and …

Economic Development, Uncategorized »

[8 Apr 2010 | One Comment | ]

Have you returned your form yet?
Take a look at the Census Bureau’s interactive map – how does your neighborhood compare?

Urban areas tend to lag behind in their Census count.
Here’s an interesting Census-related story from The New York Times about the anticipation surrounding the count in New Orleans. “Ever since this city was full of water and nearly empty of residents in September 2005, the true size of New Orleans has been a matter of wild uncertainty. Even today, population estimates can swing by the tens of thousands.”

Featured, Regionalism, Uncategorized »

[28 Mar 2010 | 6 Comments | ]
The Rust Belt: Seeking Refuge in Bowling?

Thanks to Rust Wire reader Mark Golbach for pointing out this quirky but interesting map from the Floatingsheep blog:

What do those little dots represent? The relative concentration of listings of bowling alleys in the Google Maps directory, the Floatingsheep tells us, which are heavily concentrated in the Rust Belt. The highest index value is in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan.
Like the folks at Floatingsheep, however, I have no idea what this means. Interesting though.

Public Transportation, Uncategorized »

[10 Nov 2009 | 3 Comments | ]

RustWire recently reported on Step Trek, the annual hike of Pittsburgh’s city steps. The popular narrative surrounding these steps tells that the outdoor staircases were built in the pre-automobile era, and were the main route for walking to and from work. The emphasis is usually placed on the bygone era aspect.
I went exploring a set of city steps in the area of South Oakland on Sunday, and found ample evidence that these steps are very much in use today. And, as Kate mentioned in her post, these steps are indeed …

Uncategorized »

[15 Jul 2009 | 2 Comments | ]

Like to write?
We want to hear about promising initiatives in your town.
We want to hear first-person accounts of the fallout in Detroit.
We want to hear about why you moved back home.
So many great photographers have stepped up. Are there any writers left out there without blogs?

Uncategorized »

[21 May 2009 | No Comment | ]

Despite some criticism and a tough campaign, Braddock’s unconventional mayor won in Tuesday’s primary, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
He captured 294 votes to his rival’s 103 votes.
“Mr. Fetterman’s detractors were vocal in their criticism of him, accusing him of trying to become ‘Braddock’s landlord,’” the Post-Gazette reported.

Uncategorized »

[20 May 2009 | 2 Comments | ]

Read about this group of urban planning students and their travels (so far) to Pittsburgh and Youngstown.
They’re on the road this week and still headed to Cleveland, Detroit, and Flint!