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Op-Ed: It's Time to Rethink Cleveland's Strategy of Managed Decline

Cleveland is a thought leader in bulldozing houses, according to a recent op-ed on Cleveland.com, but it's time to imagine a new paradigm.
September 14, 2016, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tim Hutchison

Richey Piiparinen, director of the Center for Population Dynamics at Cleveland State University, writes of the danger in resigning a city—in this case Cleveland—to perpetual shrinkage and demolition.

To set the stage, Piiparinen quotes sociologist Emile Durkheim: "One cannot long remain so absorbed in contemplation of emptiness without being increasingly attracted to it."

"This was the case in Cleveland," writes Piiparinen to bring the point home. "We got so numb to losing that even our solutions were drivers toward loss."

Just as LeBron James overcame the city's history of loss by winning the city's first championship in a major American sport since 1964, so too must the city take a new approach to economic and community development, according to Piiparinen.

Now, considering the affordable housing crisis in America, it's not far-fetched to suppose housing can be a comparative advantage for Cleveland. Yet it's no longer affordable when it's gone. Capitalizing on potential advantages, then, requires believing there exists potentiality. In Cleveland, the existence wavered.

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Published on Sunday, September 11, 2016 in Cleveland.com
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