The Problem with Boosterism

Urban-boosters in Cleveland and other Rust Belt locales are fierce defenders of their much-maligned cities. But does civic boosterism gloss over the region's very real problems? Worse, does it serve to protect the dysfunctional status quo?
February 15, 2011, 11am PST | Tim Halbur
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Anne Schmitt writes that she's allergic to boosterism that glosses over a city's real problems:

"Here's the thing. I live in Cleveland. I have a good life. My neighbors are amazing. But I didn't grow up here. I didn't go to the public schools. 50,000 kids got to the Cleveland public schools. Only 54 percent of them graduate.

These statistics didn't come from Forbes. They are the reality of life in Cleveland. And life in Cleveland is very hard for many people whose prospects for the future may be very dim. I think we, even as urban boosters, need to acknowledge this.

I guess fundamentally, I think it is a bit disingenuous to ignore these glaring realities and claim without qualification that outsiders are wrong to point out Cleveland's dysfunction. Worse, even, I think this blind boosterism, this knee-jerk defensiveness, becomes a sort of defense of the status quo-and the status quo in Cleveland is indefensible."

Thanks to Angie Schmitt

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Published on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 in Rust Wire
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