I've been to busy enjoying the country slide into a replica of the Weimar Republic and gathering canned goods to have noticed hopeful signs of life on Rust Belt Bloggers which now has 111 members.
On November 11th a number of bloggers each put up a post on their blogs with the aim of creating a visual slice of daily life in the places they live. To many this might seem like a waste of time but I really don't think so. Many of our towns are chock full of real, honest assets that need to be remembered and rediscovered. Hopefully, after the government's desperate efforts to keep millions of people underwater in overpriced homes finally falls through, people will come back to looking for real value-- and find a lot of places shown in the walks.
"The Neighborhood Walk is a chance for individuals throughout the Rust Belt of the U.S. and Canada to recognize the place they live, work, or call home -- and to introduce it to the world. The project is the inspiration of a social network called Rust Belt Bloggers.
On November 11, 2008 (11/11/2008), bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, photobloggers and others throughout the Rust Belt region will each take a walk around their neighborhood, make media about it -- a blog post, photo gallery, video, or whatever you prefer -- and post it on the web.
These individual perspectives and accounts of life at the street level will show both strengths and weaknesses of these neighborhoods: new businesses taking root, old factories and shops closed and abandoned. By raising awareness this way, the people involved hope to build interest in simple revitalization efforts.
How can someone get involved? Take a walk around your block and photograph what you see. Sit outside and write about the people who pass and the world around you. Turn on your video camera and give a guided tour of your neighborhood.
Post your media anywhere -- your blog, Facebook, MySpace, anywhere. Tag it as "neighborhoodwalk" so everyone can seek out what everyone else has posted. Then do a search and see everyone else's neighborhood.
This is the first project of its kind dedicated to documenting and raising awareness of life, work, and culture in the Rust Belt of the United States and Canada. More than 20 bloggers throughout the region have already committed to the project, with more joining each day."
Looks like around twenty folks posted walks from areas all around the Pittsburgh region and places like Butler, Youngstown and Dayton, Ohio. See them here.
By the way-- Elmira, NY now has the nation's hottest housing market.