But for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, an important part of the action plan includes changing the perception of the area from the "Rust Belt" to "America's Fresh Coast." While retaining its manufacturing prowess, he said the region could build upon its water assets and use it as a beacon to attract residents and business investment.
Another one of the region's assets is Rust Belt-ness, or Rust Belt Chic. The rebranding work is already done. Milwaukee in particular needs to do a better job of leveraging the new geographic stereotype. Use it as a beacon to attract residents and business investment.
Clamoring that your Rust Belt city is the exception to the rule is like staking your flag as the next great center of biotech. Everyplace else is making the same claim. Just go be great like Albany did with nanotech.