Considering Chicago’s Three Cities

November 26, 2019

SSAI is happy to release the 3rd case study in its City Series.

Chicago is, according to the State of Racial Justice report, a tale of three cities: the Lakefront, the city’s South Side, and the city’s West Side. Transitioning residents from the latter two communities into the workforce is the city’s greatest and most immediate challenge. If Chicago can marshal public and private resources to unleash the full potential of the city’s underserved community, it will be the final and most important frontier in the city’s transformation.

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The City Series

Don’t miss the first two case studies in our City Series.

Reviving a City of Workers

As the 20th Century drew to a close, Buffalo, in common with other Manufacturing Belt cities, experienced a massive economic decline as the result of American deindustrialization. As the manufacturing base which supported the region’s economy began to shrink, joblessness soared. By 2005, as the Partnership for The Public Good noted, “the City of Buffalo had a poverty rate nearly double the U.S. average.” In less than a decade, the city of Buffalo had accomplished a 50% reduction in unemployment.

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Two Cities, Two Paths

Cleveland is an iconic “Rust Belt” city—often portrayed as a once-mighty city now in terminal decline—whereas Charlotte is an icon of the “New South”—typically held out as an example of robust urban growth and success—and yet a comparison is useful in understanding the impact of workforce development on economic success.

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