Students provide input on retaining young professionals

YOUNGSTOWN — Fifteen graduate students from the University of Michigan’s urban planning program are touring downtown on a mission to make the city more friendly for young singles from generations X and Y.

The group will spend eight weeks developing ideas to turn downtown Youngstown into a residential and entertainment center that will help the city grow and retain the sought-after demographic, said Hunter Morrison, director of Urban and Regional Studies at Youngstown State University.

“I’ve challenged this class to design a 21st century downtown — design a place for themselves,” said Morrison. “The idea is to create a place that is attractive physically but also as a social environment.”

Urban living is the new ideal for younger generations, said Morrison, and cities are increasingly aware that their future economic viability is tied to its ability to attract and retain young professionals.

Today was the student’s second day of their initial visit to Youngstown. They will spend a total of three days touring city-owned downtown buildings, gathering community input before beginning the project, said Kit McCullough, an adjunct lecturer with the University of Michigan. They will return to Youngstown with recommendations in late August.

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