Margaret Sankey's Reviews > Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America's Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World

Small, Gritty, and Green by Catherine Tumber
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May 30, 12

Read in May, 2012

Many of the "Creative Class" who are attracted to big city amenities but priced out of real estate and frustrated by commutes would be happy to live in mid-sized cities...so how can that be encouraged, especially in the rust belt of upper midwest post-industrial areas? Tumber studies both the wastelands and the innovative cities that have leveraged their size to strike pragmatic deals between public transportation and employers, get federal money with fewer strings (or renegotiate dumb strings like road improvements disallowing sidewalks), encourage diverse agriculture and regional food processing and provide amenities like solid schools and good infrastructure (often risking a lot to invest in order to draw people to BE the new tax base) under plans that reward walkable compact development and creative recycling of abandoned big box stores. This is a really interesting brief introduction to the possibilities, although it leaves out a major hurdle--the remaining population of these areas is often very Red State and very resistant to change, and capable of doing hostile things that convince newcomers not to. Some inspiring stories of how to win over that bunch would be very welcome.
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