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Youngstown, Ohio: the incredible shrinking city

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.

Produced in collaboration with Blueprint America. Funding provided by Ford Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation.


Dan Kildee, leader of the ‘shrinking cities’ movement, on saving distressed cities

In Youngstown, a house now abandoned was a home

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    Main Street: Findlay, Ohio
    Need to Know travels to Ohio to assess how workers are faring after the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 35 years.
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    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
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      Certifiably employable
    Rick Karr recently visited Seattle to look at a program designed to give the unemployed the skills they need to find jobs in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.