Youngstown, Ohio, Embraces Shrinkage

I love this story of Youngstown, Ohio, embracing their dwindling population and lack of growth:

Youngstown, Ohio, has seen its population shrink by more than half over the past 40 years, leaving behind huge swaths of empty homes, streets and neighborhoods.

Now, in a radical move, the city—which has suffered since the steel industry left town and jobs dried up—is bulldozing abandoned buildings, tearing up blighted streets and converting entire blocks into open green spaces. More than 1,000 structures have been demolished so far.

It’s sad for the town and all the people who have lost jobs and homes, but at some point you have to accept the fact that growth isn’t happening and try something else.

“We’re one of the first cities of significant size in the United States to embrace shrinkage,” said [Mayor Jay] Williams.

I talk a lot about how continual growth doesn’t always work, and I think this is a good example. Despite the hardship, it’s cool to see something new rising out of the city. It won’t be as big, but that’s OK. Bigger isn’t always better.

2 thoughts on “Youngstown, Ohio, Embraces Shrinkage”

  1. I’m wondering if Detroit will ever get it’s act together to do the same thing. I just don’t think the city has the money to start tearing down buildings. They have bigger fish to fry. I recently heard that a lot of the buildings and lots are trying to be purchased by developers for pennies on the dollar, hoping they can demolish them all on their own and redevelop. I just don’t see people moving back into the city quick enough for that to be profitable.

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