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May 22nd, 2010
BLUEPRINT AMERICA
Profiles from the Recession
[OVERVIEW] Profiles from the Recession

There is no one person to decree that a recession has begun or ended, but that hasn’t stopped anyone. It isn’t until months, even years after a recession has started that the word can be used with much authority. After all, recessions are no more than at least two consecutive quarters of a declining gross domestic product. But that definition doesn’t do the state of American life over the past few years much justice.

PROFILES FROM THE RECESSION, a collection of BLUEPRINT AMERICA video and transcribed reports from the field, looks at recovery from this Recession with stories on transportation and the country’s infrastructure (its planning, design, and livability).

On Dec. 1, 2008, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the U.S. economy had entered a recession a year earlier on Dec. 1, 2007. And on Sept. 20, 2010, it announced that the recession had ended in June 2009. Still, since 2007, fifty-five percent of Americans in the workforce have lost their jobs, suffered a pay cut or seen their hours reduced — and despite an official end to the Recession, unemployment and underemployment remain high.

A $787 billion economic stimulus plan from Washington was passed to stabilize the country in 2009, with some $150 billion going to infrastructure (including $27 billion for highways, $8.4 billion for mass transit, and $8 billion for high-speed rail). Still, of the billions of dollars that states have been awarded, only half has been received and put to use.

BLUEPRINT AMERICA profiles some of those projects, with a focus on the money’s impact in rural America. And the coverage doesn’t stop at how stimulus can change a small town, but goes further looking at what it means to live out in the country today. Other profiles include how the economic times of not just the Recession but really the past two decades have redefined what it means to live in suburbia, and how its landscape is almost unlivable as a result. And, as more and more Americans leave the suburbs for the city, profiles of urban life from park building to new neighborhood designs. Plus, interviews with policy makers and news makers on transportation and a community’s livability.

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