Lessons for Shrinking Cities from Youngstown, Ohio
Recently faculty members from the University of Michigan’s Ford School Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy hosted a panel called “Lessons from Youngstown: Planning for a Smaller, Greener City,” in the process analyzing the impacts of the Youngstown 2010 Plan.
The Youngstown 2010 Plan, according to a recent article by Maya Kalman, “aimed to involve the community in enhancing the rapidly shrinking city.” Moreover, “[Youngstown 2010] differs from most urban plans, which generally focus on community and population growth.”
“Located among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Youngstown was a center for steel production until the industry began to decline in the 1970s. Urban planners have recently approached the city about looking for ways to redevelop a mid-sized city from a once larger metropolis.”
The faculty panel reported both strengths and weaknesses to the plan’s approach. Included in the plan's strengths: acceptance of the city's decline. The article also describes the Youngstown case study as a model for other shrinking cities, such as Detroit.