Monday, August 24, 2009

Youngstown Newcomers

"Why would you want to move here?" Youngstown needs to answer that question. That's one among many lessons that New Orleans can teach the Steel Valley:

Cities with high percentages of natives have many positive characteristics, including "a strong sense of local culture, deeply rooted historical legacies, and extensive family networks, " said Richard Campanella, a Tulane University geographer and author.

But there are downsides, too. Such cities tend to be economically depressed and stagnant, Campanella noted, and as a result may have "an inability to attract outsiders."

Campanella's analysis describes almost the entire Rust Belt. Shrinking cities desperately need more outsiders. However, I argue that strong nativism has another upside, robust diaspora networks. Along these lines newcomers can learn about Youngstown and what the region has to offer.

At Greater Youngstown 2.0, our hope extends beyond reaching out to prospective boomerang migrants. We aim to attract newcomers with the same kind of opportunities one can find right now in New Orleans. But this project starts with the people already living in the Steel Valley, moving the region forward. Get in touch with us and find out how we can help.

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