Adam Radwanski’s article in today’s Globe & Mail, Rust Belt Revival: Lessons for Southwest Ontario from America’s Industrial Heartland, is an important piece of reporting that should be required reading for all of Southwest Ontario’s mayors, councils, and entrepreneurs. The American Rust Belt is experiencing a dramatic shift in attitude and, in many ways, its fortunes. Radwanski spent some time travelling through America’s Rust Belt cities and reflecting on the lessons Ontario’s former industrial towns might learn from their American neighbours. His findings reflect a lot of the issues we’ve been discussing here in Welland. In his travels, Radwanski talks to some of Ohio’s most important voices on the Rust Belt revival, including Richey Piiparinen of Cleveland State University’s Center for Population Dynamics and David Giffels of the University of Akron. Giffels, who wrote The Hard Way on Purpose, was one of the inspirations behind TheHardWay Gallery & Community Commons, our own little endeavour into Rust Belt revivalism here in Welland.
For more on Rust Belt issues, have a look at geographer Jim Russell‘s work at New Geography and the Pacific Standard. The good people at Belt Magazine are also putting out some pretty great stuff. I also like Morgen Peers‘ work on neighbourhood regeneration in Scarborough. Do you have any other suggestions? Please send them this way! There are some inspiring developments occurring south of the border. We have a great deal to learn.