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ABSTRACT

This article details the transformation of the urban rust belt over the course of economic restructuring. It begins by building typologies of cities at the starting point of restructuring and by showing how cities vary in socioeconomic performance by the endpoint. Multiple methods and data sources are then used to provide a general and detailed story of change for successful and unsuccessful performers. Results show that, in general, deindustrialization is not associated with performance. However, manufacturing still matters. Detailed stories show successful cities of one type have diversified manufacturing, becoming post-industrial producers. Successful cities of another type have specialized, retaining old manufacturing in branch plants. For the first type of city, policies aimed at developing the labor force and encouraging collaboration between local manufacturers is recommended. For the second type, policies targeted at improving the local business climate are encouraged. Results also show all unsuccessful cities have become healthcare-based economies.