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Richey Piiparinen
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Richey Piiparinen is a Research Program Fellow heading the Center for Population Dynamics at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. He is also co-editor of Rust Belt Chic: A Cleveland Anthology. Richey lives in Cleveland, the Rust Belt.

Entries by Richey Piiparinen

Sorry, Your City is Not the Next Silicon Valley

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2016 | 12:38 PM

"No man needs sympathy because he has to work, because he has a burden to carry," began Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. president from 1901 to 1910. "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."

No doubt, during Roosevelt's time...

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America's Top Young Adult Workforces: A Rust Belt Rebirth?

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 8:00 AM

The rise and decline of the American metro is cyclical. I know, people tend to take the current state of a region and erroneously think it's been that way forever, or that it will stay that way forever. But the vitality of urban areas are fluid -- prone to decline...

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Cleveland, LeBron, and the Evolution of Collective Shame

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 12:38 PM

"Shame is fear of humiliation at one's inferior status in the estimation of others." -- Lao Tzu

Sitting with fellow Clevelanders at a since-demolished bar, July 8th, 2010, LeBron James, local boy, uttered the words that hurt: "I am taking my talents to South Beach." It was a shot heard...

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Cleveland Battles Rust Belt Stereotypes in Bid for the GOP Convention

(3) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 1:19 PM

2014-07-03-Clevelandloser.jpg Courtesy of BCTZ Cleveland

Recently, news broke that the site selection for the 2016 GOP national convention is down to two cities: Cleveland and Dallas. At first blush, the finalists are an odd pairing, pitting a region labeled with "post-industrial decline"...

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Sorry Neil, Rust Does, In Fact, Sleep

(1) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 11:17 AM


With change comes conflict. That's life. The "life" of a city is no different. But no change brings conflict too. Just ask the Rust Belt.

Community conflict often arises with migration, particularly with an influx of newcomers. Wariness toward the...

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What Detroit Has Really Taught America

(147) Comments | Posted August 13, 2013 | 10:01 AM

Nothing. Seriously. Not a damn thing.

Oh, the occasion is being used to opine on our state of affairs, but nothing is structurally taking shape in America to prevent the next Detroit from occurring. In fact, Detroit is occurring every day inside most of us. We are all getting bankrupt...

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Is the 'Rust Belt' a Dirty Word?

(1) Comments | Posted July 12, 2013 | 2:20 PM

Many people hate the term "Rust Belt." They dislike the aesthetics of the Rust Belt. For others, the term is less loaded, but rather a moniker denoting who we are. Consider me in the latter camp. But I often cross paths with those who loathe the term, or more exactly...

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Abandoning the Rust Belt, Vacating the American Dream (PHOTOS)

(3) Comments | Posted June 5, 2013 | 9:57 AM

"When you see your neighbor going down, you have to think about yourself. And if you don't go over there and put that fire out -- help your neighbor put that fire out -- then the fire is coming to you. No matter what the problems are."--Tommy Stephens, owner of...

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Lipstick on a Place: On the Aesthetics of 'Slumming It'

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 2:07 PM

Picasso said, "Art is a lie that tells the truth." Nowadays, there's less truth to that, as the creative process is increasingly about prettying up and papering over what's broke.

More on that shortly, but first, about the breakage: it's legitimate. Said Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz in a recent...

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Courage Isn't Going to the Movies

(14) Comments | Posted August 10, 2012 | 11:02 AM

Throughout the weekend following the tragedy in Aurora, television interviews showed folks queued up outside movie theaters waiting to get into The Dark Night Rises. The customers, in so many words, had a common message: the terror inflicted by one gunman would not keep them from movie going. The crux...

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The Death of American Cool

(11) Comments | Posted July 31, 2012 | 4:29 PM

Forbes released its list of America's coolest cities. Houston won. Houston also owns the crown of America's fattest city. Ranks as one of the most overpriced cities. And it is consistently recognized as having America's worst sprawl. Oh, Google "Houston aesthetic." You get a...

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Rust Belt Fatalism: Why Psychology is Important in City Making

(4) Comments | Posted July 18, 2012 | 1:18 PM

Detroit's vacancy is burning again. The effect is orange nights and a fire department that can do little except wait for the flames to burn out. On the surface, such scenes reiterate the narrative of a city in the grips of Mad-Maxian chaos: a post-apocalyptic un-civilization. But that's...

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Do as I Say, Not as I Want: Dissonance in Conservative Immigration Policy and Practice

(3) Comments | Posted July 10, 2012 | 4:54 PM

Imagine you are at a table eating dinner. You are gobbling up your food, loving it: grease on your fingers, sauce on your cheek. But in between bites you disparage where the food came from, and how it was prepared. The talking heads around you nod in agreement, all the...

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Ruin Porn: As Dirty as You Need It to Be

(5) Comments | Posted June 22, 2012 | 1:22 PM

I like ruin porn. To many I am nasty. I am aware of this. But please, hear me out.

First, let me back up a minute. If you aren't from the Rust Belt you need to know something: vacancy lives here. In fact, its ubiquity has granted it...

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The Rust Belt Aesthetic: Conflict and Creativity

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2012 | 5:33 PM

The Rust Belt landscape shoves you. If a suburb in Florida serves to take the edge off, Cleveland cuts you into corners. And depending on your poison, this can be a good thing, especially if you are an artist.


Take Cleveland painter

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