blockitecture leaderboard

Despair and Hope in Occupied Rust Belt Cities

As part of an "Occupy America" tour, Arun Gupta visits Occupy protests in three rust belt cities, and finds that the economic forces that unleashed the global recession long ago stripped these cities of their economic and social fabric.

Gupta journeys to Allentown P.A., Youngstown and Toledo, Ohio to meet the protesters at their struggling Occupations:

"Occupy Allentown has taken up residence in Center Square, inhabiting one of the four red-brick plazas on each corner. At the downtown crossroads, Occupy Youngstown has taken up position in the shadow of three different banks, including a Chase branch. In Toledo, Ohio, occupiers are struggling with trying to live outdoors in a harsh climate because the city is making life difficult for them.

Awareness of the occupation movement coexists with despair...After decades of economic decline, Americans in this part of the country are beaten down. Their prospects are limited. Civic embarrassment is more prevalent than pride. They lament the end of the 'American Dream,' the notion that hard work and sacrifice would be rewarded with a comfortable retirement and a better life for their children and grandkids. But in the hundreds of occupations around the country they have found a space where they can speak of their struggles, burdens and aspiration. People listen and they hear similar stories, creating a genuine sense of community. They say it is giving them dignity. And perhaps most important, it is giving them hope."

Full Story: Occupying the Rust Belt

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00