Shrinkage Moving Too Slowly in Rust Belt Town

Rust Belt poster child Youngstown, Ohio made waves almost a decade ago with its revolutionary plan for "controlled shrinkage." But progress has been slow in a political system still wired for growth.
July 5, 2011, 2pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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Angie Schmitt reports in Youngstown's struggles. Formerly a steel town, the city lost almost half its residents in the last 30 years. Schmitt says the main problem in Youngstown is that it can't support its built infrastructure:

"The starkest example is its excess housing stock. At last count, demolition crews were slogging through some 3,300 vacant houses. But sewers, streets, even stoplights: all of these former amenities linger at a scale meant for the days when the mills were still turning the skies orange and filling the pockets of workers who, in turn, filled the gambling houses.

Now these physical amenities have become liabilities. A diminished tax base limits the city's ability to maintain its aging streets and sewers."

The city developed a plan in 2010 for managing shrinkage, but Schmitt says things are moving slowly.

Thanks to Angie Schmitt

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Published on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 in Streetsblog Capitol Hill
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