Expert panel discusses power, race, revitalization during City Club event


Power, race and revitalization were discussed Tuesday night during the City Club of the Mahoning Valley’s free community panel at the Youngstown Playhouse.

The panel featured Alan Mallach, the author of “The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America,” Evelyn Burnett, the co-founder and sponsor of ThirdSpace Action Lab and ThirdSpace Cafe in Cleveland and Presley Gillespie, former Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation executive director and current president of Neighborhood Allies.

Ian Beniston, executive director of the YNDC, moderated the discussion.

Prior to the panel discussion, Mallach discussed his new book, which explores the recent revitalizations in older Rust Belt and Midwestern cities — Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Detroit, for example — and how those revitalizations, while positive, haven’t succeeded in alleviating entrenched poverty in those communities.

“Huge parts of these cities are being ignored despite these revivals,” Mallach said. “Many of the areas that were poor before the revivals remain poor after.”

Mallach argued that strong local leaders and institutions working toward a common goal that emphasized reinvestment into local neighborhoods is paramount to addressing the struggles faced by post-industrial cities such as Youngstown.

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