Tag Archives: Housing

Study: Housing Bust Turns Parts of Sun Belt…into Rust Belt

Frequent Rust Wire readers know we’ve written before about the housing crisis creating Rust Belt-like conditions in some Sun Belt cities, such as Las Vegas (See here and here).

Now there appears to be actual data to back that up, according to a study from the Research Institute for Housing America, a division of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Los Angeles Times explains:

“A traditional city in decline is one that has suffered a sustained population drop, leaving behind empty houses, apartment buildings, offices and storefronts. Cleveland and Detroit, for instance, suffered from the erosion of manufacturing and the loss of residents, who left in search of jobs.

Instead of eroding a particular industry, however, the housing bust left a glut of homes because of overbuilding and the foreclosure crisis. Follain (The study’s author) argues that the future of these cities is threatened in similar ways to that of Rust Belt cities.

‘Long-vacant neighborhoods are going to develop, and we can imagine what can happen,’ he said, including potentially higher crime and lower property taxes.”

Particularly hard-hit, are inland areas of California, this article says, as well as places in Florida and Nevada.

Read the study here.


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Filed under Economic Development, Real Estate, sprawl, The Housing Crisis

Bringing Good Ideas Home to Buffalo

This article was contributed by Katherine Reedy, a Buffalo native. She graduated in May from Columbia (undergrad) and lives in New York.


A common refrain heard in Buffalo, and much of the Rust Belt, is that you can’t appreciate the place until you’ve left it.

A crop of young Buffalonians have put this idea into practice in the past several years by combining an appreciation for their hometown with the innovative resources and ideas they’ve gained through education and experiences in the world outside the Queen City.

Megan McNally, a senior at Barnard College in New York, used a megan-mcnally-june-2009school grant to purchase a home (pictured above) on Buffalo’s blighted West Side. Picking up renovation tips from the non-profit Buffalo ReUse (and some construction workers she befriended), McNally is remaking the house into a community center. Whitney Yax, an ’09 graduate of Columbia, joins her on the project. They’ve already been featured in Dwell magazine, and Megan blogs about her project at Buffalo Basics.

Erin Hheaneyeaney is drawing on her experiences organizing student activists at Swarthmore College to organize local residents against Tonawanda Coke, a major regional polluter in an area long plagued by environmental hazards. (Remember Love Canal?) Buffalo residents recognize the plant by the distinct stench it wafts over Grand Island in the Niagara River, and few were surprised to learn this summer that it emits dangerous levels of the carcinogen benzene. At just 22, Heaney is the executive director of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York.

aaronbartley4inFinally, Aaron Bartley is using his law degree from Harvard–where he was involved in labor organizing–to spearhead the non-profit People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), which helps low-income Buffalo citizens find affordable housing. PUSH recently threw its third annual fundraiser “Buffalo Takes Manhattan” in September, drawing nearly 300 Buffalo supporters to SEIU headquarters in NYC for pizza, wings, beer, a speech by the esteemed A.R. Gurney, and much dancing to Rick James.

In a city that came late to discussions of sustainability, public accessibility, and centralized planning, the fresh ideas of Buffalo’s young activists are truly breaking ground. Hopefully, it will be their dedication and appreciation that clears the stale air of their hometown.

(Picture credits: Buffalo ReUse, Artvoice, and VOICE-Buffalo.)


Filed under Brain Drain, Featured, Good Ideas, Real Estate