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Legacy Cities

A book about Cleveland’s history and future

A new book by Cleveland State University Professors Dr. Stephanie Ryberg-Webster and Dr. Rosie Tighe seeks to identify and assess current opportunities and challenges for urban centers across the U.S. Legacy Cities: Continuity and Change amid Decline and Revival features research from leading urban policy experts and covers a range of issues facing policymakers and planners in legacy cities such as population decline, regional equity, segregation, and environmental degredation.

“The goal with this book was to bring attention to urban policy issues that are important to cities like Cleveland. In previous studies of legacy cities, there has been a heavy emphasis on Detroit and significantly less attention given to cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. We really wanted to harness the knowledge, energy and research that is going on in Cleveland and these other legacy cities.” says Ryberg-Webster, an associate professor of urban policy in CSU’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

“People in Cleveland are tired of being called ‘the Mistake on the Lake,” notes Tighe, who also serves as an associate professor of urban studies in the Levin College. “People have a lot of preconceptions about Cleveland, or Pittsburgh or Buffalo, and how they were ‘better before.’ However, these communities are still very important economic and cultural centers in this country.”

The book, which is published by University of Pittsburgh Press, seeks to illustrate the positive steps cities have taken to enhance economic investment and increase quality of life, while addressing the very real challenges they still face. Ryberg-Webster and Tighe hope this effort will provide a clearer picture of urban life in the Rust Belt while also highlighting best practices and policy innovations that can further expand sustainable urban development.

“It almost seems like people forget that folks still live in Cleveland,” Tighe adds. “This is the reason we decided to use the term “legacy cities” instead of “shrinking cities” or “rustbelt cities,” because those terms have negative connotations. We chose “legacy” because it better fits the reality of how these cities operate.”

Ryberg-Webster and Tighe will host a launch party in September to promote the book, sign copies and highlight individual contributors. The date and location will be announced shortly.