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Rust Belt Reborn?

Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 9:00 am
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Stories of the “brain drain” may have been exaggerated. For decades, Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and other cities of the industrial Midwest endured the crushing impact of shuttered factories, closed businesses and a shrinking population. The label of “rust belt” has long been seen as a badge of failure and decline. But, in more recent years, a small, but growing, stream of young people have been relocating to abandoned Northeast Ohio neighborhoods, reoccupying foreclosed homes and tearing the plywood off of storefronts to launch start-up businesses. Many of these new city dwellers grew-up in the suburbs of rust belt cities, left home for college, got priced-out of the expensive cities on both coasts and came back to the Heartland because of family ties and a desire to make their native region better. But, can an altruistic band of 20Somethings possibly lighten the weight of economic devastation that still plagues our cities?


Richey Piiparinen – Researcher, Strategic Urban Solutions
Jim Russell - Economic Geographer
Eric Wobser – Executive Director, Ohio City Inc.
Dominic Marchionda – Program Coordinator, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.
Laura Putre – Managing Editor/Senior Writer BELT

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