Monday, January 19, 2009

The decline of Connecticut cities

Connecticut's wealth follows a pretty remarkable geographic pattern; despite being the richest state of the union, the success seems to avoid its biggest cities.

Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, New Britain, Meriden or Stamford all share an illustrious manufacturing past; wealthy seats of factories and fortunes that produced brass, rifles, mills and tools that were sold all over the world. Hartford was 100 years ago the wealthiest city in the country, thanks to its industry and financial sector. In the years following the Second World War, however, growth vanished, industries left and the once vibrant cities gradually declined to their sorry present state.

How that happened? What brough Connecticut cities from their golden years of urbanism in the 30s to what they are today? Above all, how can Connecticut cities regain their footing and contribute to the prosperity of the state as a whole?

The answer to these questions is not easy; several factors have contributed to these changes. The present outcome was not a foregone conclusion; as cities like Boston, New York, Seattle, Portland or Chicago show, the decline of urban areas is not inevitable. In the coming days / weeks, I will try to explain what happened and why we need to reverse these trends. Let's hope it all makes sense.

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