Rustbelt, U.S.A. —
Detroit, Michigan — the Motor City — was at one time the fourth largest city in America. And, few Americans back in the city’s heyday drove cars that were not made-in-Detroit. Since the 1950s, though, Motown has been in a steady decline — losing jobs and with them people.
In the last decade, Detroit’s population has dropped 25 percent. 237,500 people have left the city since 2000.
But, Detroit is not the only shrinking city.
From Flint, Michigan, to Buffalo, New York, to Youngstown, Ohio, this drastic loss of population is common. Because with industry and manufacturing all but gone, this region — called the Rustbelt — has been abandoned.
At the same time, cities across the Rustbelt are now embracing ‘shrinking’… as a plan for revitalization. In other words, after years of waiting for empty factories and mills to open again, some cities are now rightsizing for the people that still live there. The theory: smaller, but better.
BLUEPRINT AMERICA reports on how the cities that built the country are now rebuilding themselves in order to survive the 21st Century.