05 Mar '12, 12pm

Rust Belt chic: Can gritty, beaten down cities find their inner cool?

Rust Belt chic: Can gritty, beaten down cities find their inner cool?

A version of this story first appeared in Rustwire . Front page image by Dylan Johnson at Etsy. I think that troubled cities often tragically misinterpret what’s coolest about themselves. They scramble for cure-alls, something that will ‘attract business,’ always one convention center, one pedestrian mall or restaurant district away from revival. They miss their biggest, best, and probably most marketable asset: their unique and slightly off-center character. Few people go to New Orleans because it’s a ‘normal’ city — or a ‘perfect’ or ‘safe’ one. They go because it’s crazy, borderline dysfunctional, permissive, shabby, alcoholic, and bat shit crazy — and because it looks like nowhere else. Cleveland is one of my favorite cities. I don’t arrive there with a smile on my face every time because of the Cleveland Philharmonic. – Anthony Bourdain It’s branding season again in m...

Full article: http://grist.org/cities/rust-belt-chic-can-gritty-beaten-...

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