While scholars and urban planners throughout the US and Europe debate strategies for revitalising former industrial cities that are “shrinking”, “forgotten” or “failing”, Young reminds us that storytelling, including the kind of inconclusive ending we might find in a contemporary novel, sometimes reveals more than the most careful study can. Better yet, a good story shows us why we should care, even if it doesn’t provide any solutions.And she points out that while Flint may seem unique to me and those of us who grew up there, the city's plight is, in many ways, all too familiar:
Flint will survive, he tells us, because it has many “tough people fighting…in their own ways”. But it will be a long, hard battle without a triumphant conclusion: Flint will never again be “a bastion of the middle class”. At best, it might become “a different place that still had pride and dignity”. That may sound like a disappointing conclusion, but it’s an honest one. The economic and social challenges of the post-industrial austerity economy are complex, and we may never return to past prosperity. Like Flintoids, we need to keep fighting in our own ways.Read the entire review here.