News Politics

A not so new, new idea

The Cincinnati metropolitan area is an extremely fragmented area (particularly Hamilton County), and like much regions in the country it suffers from NIMBYism, white flight and concentration of social services. The mindset of, the different communities, distancing themselves from the inner-city has been in full speed for some time now…until more recently.

Inner-ring suburbs are starting to feel the pinch from the perpetuating nature of sprawl. Cincinnati proper has been dealing with this problem for years, and arguably might be at the point of getting past that issue. Recent population count challenges from the City of Cincinnati have been successful and are now showing a population growth not only for downtown, but for the entire City. Other communities, within Hamilton County, have now also been pegged with losses…losses that they have never seen before.

So…what’s new about a Midwest city losing population and struggling as a region. Well, nothing. But what is new with this situation is that the inner-city is showing signs of life as the inner-ring ‘burbs are now feeling the pinch. This is inevitably the future for many regions around the nation…so what are we to do?

Well Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory has stepped up to the plate, and is taking a leadership role for this region in fighting this decline and challenging numbers that may very well be flawed from a Census methodology that favors new growth cities. It is more difficult to count the number of rehabbed buildings and/or reoccupied buildings. You can spot the number of building permits from a mile away and guestimate that 2-3 people occupy that structure (which may or may not be true).

So…what else is new? We have a leader that is stepping up to the plate and taking on a leadership role at a more regional level. Mayor Mallory is rallying communities from around Hamilton County. If Hamilton County can begin working as one cohesive unit then the region will surely benefit. In short…the voice of 800,000+ people is much more powerful than those voices being split up amongst dozens of jurisdictions.

The bottom line is that it’s beginning to look like the Cincinnati region may start to begin working together cooperatively to accomplish their goals…which for Cincinnati is a not so new, new idea.

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.