Youngstown Project III: Riding Uncertainties in Shrinking Cities

Youngstown, Ohio is one of many shrinking cities in the US rust belt. To deal with its seemingly insurmountable number of vacant and abandoned properties, Youngstown local communities have released a number of neighborhood action plans (NAPs) since 2015. Each NAP was followed up by a series of quarterly-based neighborhood meetings, in which changes to the former NAPs were made due to environment and process uncertainties. This study inquires how NAPs change overtime and how to evaluate the implementation of NAPs via meeting minutes.. We are using a combined research method that engages quantitative and qualitative inquiries. We anticipate that changes to the former NAPs are drastic and our former evaluation of the NAPs' implementation (published on JPER) will have to be updated through a dynamic perspective.

Can Neighborhood Planning in Shrinking Cities Achieve Demolition Goals? A Conformance and Performance Evaluation of Neighborhood

We examine conformance and performance dimensions of demolition recommendations in seven “Neighborhood Action Plans” (NAPs) issued between 2015 and 2017 in the shrinking city of Youngstown, Ohio. We use geographic information systems (GIS) to compare plan-suggested and actual demolitions. We examine whether overall statistics are similar and who was responsible for demolition. We conduct interviews with informants to understand causality. We find that NAPs are better implemented from performance than from conformance perspectives, but that nongovernmental organization (Land Bank) demolitions conformed more closely than local government. Interviewees provided several causes: procedural differences, overlapping responsibilities, influence of political decision makers on plan implementation, and shifting NAP goals.