A new report ranks Akron ahead of Cleveland and Canton when it comes to being ready for the future.
That's a number 9 ranking out of 18 so-called "legacy" cities surveyed by think-tank Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Those are cities remaking themselves; Philly, Pittsburgh and Baltimore topped the list and while Akron was mid-rank Canton came in 13, Cleveland 15, Youngstown 16. At least we're still not Michigan: Detroit and Flint bring up the rear.
Overall, Akron ranked high in issues such as percentage of the population in poverty (third), housing vacancy rate (5) and the crime rate (2nd). Akron scored poorly in the percentage of graduate students reflecting a more educated workforce (14), total research funding (14, despite the University of Akron's strong performance in the engineering research field) and in the mid-range for issues such as mortgage ratio (12), percentage with a bachelor's college degree (10), and foreign-born population (11, reflecting more global diversity) in the Institute's rankings.
Many of the report's anecdotal examples of innovative local thinking on re-development of blighted areas, economic growth and cost-saving regional approaches skipped Akron but instead highlighted successes in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dayton and Youngstown. The Mahoning Valley in particular received praise for it's approach toward re-development and urban planning of vacant land.
The report overall recommends strategies aimed at helping cities rebuild their core downtown areas, strengthen neighborhoods, repurpose vacant land, build on the power of cities to act as economic engines and encouraged local governments to build more forward-thinking affiliations and partnerships for community good.
The complete report is available at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy website HERE with a free subscription (required) to access and download or by viewing the copy including as a download on the lower section of this story.