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Understanding Poverty in a Legacy City

Authors: Sujata Shetty*, University of Toledo, Daniel J. Hammel, University of Toledo, Philemon Abayateye, University of Toledo, Alex DiBell, University of Toledo, Brittany Jones, University of Toledo
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Planning Geography
Keywords: Poverty, legacy cities, city-university partnerships
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Measured by several different indicators, Lucas County, in northwest Ohio, and Toledo, the county seat, have not done as well as other counties and cities in the state in reducing poverty rates over the last decade. Lucas County being identified as a high-poverty area within the state was a cause for concern for members of City Council and raised several interconnected questions. Among them: a) Why are highest levels of poverty observed in eight largely rural Appalachian counties and the more industrial Lucas County, two seemingly disparate parts of the state? Why in these areas only? b) What are the characteristics of Lucas County and Toledo that have led to their inclusion on this list of high-poverty counties? c) What is the composition and spatial distribution of the population living in poverty in Toledo and Lucas County? d) What might be an initial set of policy responses to this level of poverty that are effective in the short and long term? This paper reports on the process and outcomes of a research project, conducted by the University of Toledo’s Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center, that sought to answer these questions. Methods included mapping and demographic analysis of poverty-related data, and interviews with representatives of local organizations working on poverty-relate issues. The experience provides an illustrative example of how university researchers can work with civic leaders to address practical concerns.

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