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The Living Cities

The Living Cities

THE LIVING CITIES responds to communities’ inclusion in article, “America’s Fastest-Dying Cities”

An Aug. 5, 2008 report by that named four Ohio cities — Canton, Cleveland, Dayton and Youngstown — to its list of top-10 fastest-dying cities has generated much discussion, especially in northeast Ohio’s three communities that made the unfavorable list.

PBS Western Reserve gave local and regional community leaders an opportunity to respond to the Forbes rankings in a one-hour broadcast, THE LIVING CITIES.

The program presented field segments on each of northeast Ohio’s so-called “dying cities,” featuring interviews with city officials and business leaders; a review of the statistics used by Forbes to make its assessments; and a broader view of what is happening in the three cities. It also discussed the cities’ economic development plans and neighborhood revitalization projects, plus the growing focus on regionalism.

These segments were used as a springboard for a live, studio-based conversation during which viewers were invited to participate through live call-in, e-mail, Twitter and other instant response technology.

Community leaders interviewed for the program, which is a joint production of PBS Western Reserve in cooperation with Municipal Leader magazine, include the following:

  • David Abbott, chairman, Fund for Our Economic Future
  • Canton Mayor William Healy II
  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
  • Warren Mayor Michael O’Brien
  • Robert Torres, director, City of Canton Department of Development
  • Chris Warren, chief of regional development, City of Cleveland
  • Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams


The live panel discussion moderated by Eric Mansfield, host of PBS Western Reserve’s NEWSNIGHT AKRON and Akron/Canton reporter for WKYC-TV3. Participating on the panel will be these civic leaders:

  • Pepper Pike Mayor Bruce Akers, who also is an advisory committee member of the Regional Economic Revenue Study (RERS)
  • Leah Anglin-Walsh, Akron regional economic development director, Ohio Department of Development
  • Ann Womer Benjamin, executive director, Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education
  • Robert Torres, director, City of Canton Department of Development
  • Thomas Waltermire, chief executive officer, Team NEO
  • T. Sharon Woodberry, director, City of Youngstown Economic Development
  • Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone, Ward 17, who is also president of the Northeast Ohio City Council Association


“PBS Western Reserve and Municipal Leader magazine were very interested in digging under the surface of this report from Forbes,” stated Tom Speaks, editor-in-chief of Municipal Leader magazine. “We believe it is critical that the leaders of Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown and regional experts in the field of economic development address this controversy in a meaningful and open forum.”

A PBS Western Reserve production, 2008.