Tom McNamara, Blueprint America
In the first quarter of 2011, the U.S. manufacturing sector created more than 140,000 new jobs. And last year marked the first time in more than a decade that more manufacturing jobs were created in this country than were lost. But experts say manufacturing is unlikely ever to play as large a role in the American economy as it once did. With thousands of houses sitting empty and crumbling, people won’t be moving back into the old industrial cities that pepper the Rust Belt anytime soon.
So what about the residents who continue to live there? Older manufacturing towns are searching for new ways to survive in the 21st century. In a country where bigger is almost always better, cities like Youngstown, Ohio, are trying to come back to life by shrinking themselves. This Blueprint America story reports on Youngstown’s plan to restore its former greatness, but on a smaller scale.