Monday, September 24, 2007

Youngstown Diaspora

One of my daily search queries is "Pittsburgh Diaspora." Today's results yield a blog post about Dr. Sherry Linkon's interview with Hunter Morrison, Youngstown's shrinking cities champion. Dr. Linkon comments on Morrison's ideas about Youngstown and a pan-regional economy:

Hunter predicts that the Cleveland/Youngstown/Pittsburgh corridor will become one large economic region, and because Youngstown is geographically central, we will play an important role as these cities learn to work together to promote development and do economic planning as a region. While I agree that the region is becoming a sort of megalopolis, and that does bring new money into the Mahoning Valley, I have doubts about whether it’s entirely a good thing. Do we want to be a bedroom community for people working in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Akron? How will that affect local workers and the local economy? If we become the meeting place for leaders from the big cities, will our needs and issues be heard? Hunter is enthusiastic that regionalism can help this area, and while I hope that’s true, I also have some doubts. Regional growth may be inevitable, but I think we need to be strategic about our role and our interests.

Seems to me the question isn't whether or not the developing megalopolis is a good thing for Youngstown. The question is what should be done about it. Dr. Linkon's perspective reminds me of the debate about globalization. Is globalization good or bad? Whatever your opinion on the matter, your region must still deal with economic integration.

One person's problem is another person's opportunity. I think that's the driving force behind the embrace of a shrinking city.

No comments: