New Legacies of Deindustrialization: Prospects for Economic and Community Development in the U.S. Midwest and Beyond in the 21st Century

Authors: Dayne Walling*, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Economic Geography
Keywords: deindustrialization, cities, urban development, redevelopment, politics of scale, urban planning, community engagement, local civic cultures, Midwest
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download



The vast variability in the redevelopment trajectories of the places that lost the greatest share of manufacturing economic activity raises questions about the persistent pattern of uneven urban development and what constitutes sustainable development in the 21st Century. My initial findings point toward the redevelopment process in cities marred by a failure to rebound as being controlled by state policy limitations and exclusive metropolitan institutions. At the same time, networks of civic and community organizations continue to project out their own visions for redevelopment, which are rooted in place-based pride and identity at the neighborhood and city scales. In places where there is an effective linkage between the local civic and community organizations acting as the catalytic agents of equitable revitalization and the intergovernmental relationships to leverage local capacities, there is redevelopment. In fact, more than half of the twenty-five U.S. counties experiencing the highest level of deindustrialization since 1970 do not exhibit the common characteristics ascribed to older industrial communities. From Kenosha County, Wisconsin to York County, South Carolina a modicum of prosperity has been achieved. Acknowledging this requires a rethinking of the legacies of deindustrialization and may provide policy guidance relevant for those cities like Gary, Indiana and Youngstown, Ohio that continue to struggle along with neighborhoods across the nation grappling with brownfields, abandonment, and public neglect.

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