Rustbelt

Pennsylvania's cities and towns are full of promise, but plagued by problems. The appeal of urban living is on the rise. Many neighborhoods bustle with new residents and amenities. But issues such as crumbling infrastructure and high taxes linger. What can Pennsylvania's cities, large and small, do to address their problems and fulfill their promise? 

Marc Moss / flickr

Once home to the nation’s leading tire manufacturers, Akron, Ohio, was hit hard by post-industrial layoffs, factory closings and a steadily declining population.

Like other rust belt cities, the once-rubber giant has had to redefine itself and its industry.

In his book The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt, author David Giffels chronicles past glories and the present condition of his home state. 

Devon Christopher Adams / flickr

In his recent book, Nothin' But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland, Ed McClelland chronicles the rise, fall, and hopeful revitalization of some of America’s boomtowns.

He says blue skies is referenced in the title of his novel as a twofold approach to the past and future of these post-industrial cities.

Don't Count The Big D Out Yet!

Aug 1, 2013
Kate Sumbler/Flickr

While the recent media cycle on Detroit’s bankruptcy often reads like a eulogy to one of America’s great industrial boomtowns, Richard C. Harwood, who heads the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, sees signs of life. Harwood points to a number of positive signs in the city, including companies moving downtown, building renovations and venture capital funds being formed.

All of these improvements “are pockets of change that suggest that a new path forward can emerge.”