In terms of a city  made up of people, that ship has sailed for the city of Youngstown. The population has shifted  from the time some 60 years ago Youngstown ranked as the 57th most populous city in the nation. Today it ranks 521 and quickly losing ground.

Youngstown had the biggest loss of people in the past year in terms of percentage loss followed closely by Flint Michigan. Cleveland and Lakewood are hot on our heels. 

What to do? Maybe nothing except knock down more blight. Youngstown will likely shrink even more as much of the housing and lifestyle are from a bygone era when people lived on postage stamp plats of land. 

With suburbs around Youngstown thriving, people are opting for wide open space and security. Even if Youngstown was a city with well kept streets and neighborhoods the evolutionary process of emulating the suburbs would draw people from the city.

Some people want to live in a city, but they want to live in a city that offers services such as food and culture. Youngstown misses the mark here too. It's hard to find a gas station or grocery store, although you can find a symphony orchrestra. 

You can't force development, you can only retake neighborhoods by subtracting blight and building your city back from the successful inter-core you have established over the past 10 years. 

The downtown businesses and the university are something to build on. Wide open spaces need to be created where their are decrepit buildings and remnants of the steel industry.

The question then becomes, who will mow all that grass?

Write me DanRivers@ClearChannel.com