More on Pittsburgh’s Econ Dev strategy

“Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has formed a task force to nurture high-tech businesses, an initiative that grew out of his recent Asia trip and a decision to more forcefully inject himself into a critical economic sector. Mr. Ravenstahl hopes that bringing representatives of education, business and the nonprofit community together will yield a more unified approach to attracting and growing high-tech ventures…”

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Michigan Factory Towns In The News

Over the weekend, you might have heard the NPR story about a new project in Saginaw, MI. Artists are painting the lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s song  “America” on empty buildings across town. To many in Saginaw, and across the Great Lakes, the song depicts a familiar situation: leaving home to find opportunity.

“”Kathy,” I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
“Michigan seems like a dream to me now”
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I’ve gone to look for America

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Reinventing Our Cities: From Our Listeners

In the end, cities are made of people. So as we thought about the task of reinventing our cities, we wanted to hear your views on what’s working and what’s not working in the place where you live. We wanted to hear what makes you proud of your hometown and which Great Lakes city you think gets it right.

Changing Gears invited listeners to call and write in with their thoughts. You can hear those thoughts throughout the program. As an added bonus, click on the slideshow below to meet some of our contributors, your fellow listeners.

Reinventing Our Cities, From Changing Gears



“Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.” That’s what Carl Sandberg said about Chicago.

The poet Joseph Brodsky said, “Everything about our cities is king sized — the beauty and the ugliness.”

And President John F. Kennedy said, ” We neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them, we neglect the nation.” He could have been talking about our region, too.

Reinventing Our Cities, an hour-long radio documentary from Changing Gears, looks at all the issues facing our cities, from Pittsburgh to Chicago, Detroit to Gary, Indiana. Big questions remain. Can these cities learn from each other? What are the best ideas that can work for each? Or do they have their own unique problems?

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Nieman Reports on Our Midwestern “Beat”

Nieman Reports features Changing Gears in its Winter issue, which is all about the beat. Reporting beats, that is.

The magazine uses Changing Gears as an example of a news project that is using new tactics to change the way journalism is done. In our case, it’s all about covering the Midwest as a region. See the team and read about the philosophy of our project.

Tune in TODAY for Reinventing Our Cities

Changing Gears’ one-hour special, Reinventing Our Cities, airs TODAY at 2 pm ET/1 pm CT. Listen to our partner stations WBEZ, Michigan Radio and ideastream, or visit their Web sites for live streams of the special.

We’ll scour the industrial Midwest for reinvention ideas. We’ll talk to experts — and hear from listeners who shared their views. You’ll also hear reports from Dan Bobkoff and Niala Boodhoo of the Changing Gears team, plus Michael Puente of WBEZ and Sarah Hulett of Michigan Radio. Changing Gears senior editor Micki Maynard hosts.

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Ohio, Wisconsin Lose High-Speed Rail Funding (Quickly)

Bloomberg reports that the feds have pulled funding for high speed rail projects in Wisconsin and Ohio. (Though, Ohio’s planned “high speed” rail struggled to approach highway speeds.) So much for that. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood transferred the $1.2 billion to states he said are “eager” for trains.

Read Bloomberg’s Report

And, from the Plain Dealer

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Making It In The Midwest (Musically Speaking)

Changing Gears is teaming up in 2011 with our friends at Sound Opinions for Making It In The Midwest. It’s a music contest to find rising Midwest talent — and a look at what it takes to have a successful music career.

The winners will get to perform next spring at a very special spot. We’ll also be reporting on whether our musicians can thrive here at home or have to go coastal.

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