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The population of Youngstown, Ohio, has fallen by more than half from its glory days as a steel city. Lots of buildings are empty. Instead of trying to grow, Youngstown is accepting its new smallness.
It’s razing entire abandoned neighborhoods and turning them into parks. So says an article yesterday in The New York Times Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
“The city and county are now turning abandoned lots over to neighboring landowners and excusing back taxes on the land, provided that they act as stewards of the open spaces. … Instead of trying to recapture its industrial past, Youngstown hopes to capitalize on its high vacancy rates and underused public spaces; it could become a culturally rich bedroom community serving Cleveland and Pittsburgh, both of which are 70 miles away.”
Making the best of a bad situation.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.