Three cities are showing strong evidence of revitalization and the creation of new economic engines to replace their lost industry, while another three, despite continued sustained population loss, appear nonetheless to be weathering the transition to a smaller, post-industrial state. At the same time, other cities have yet to find the key to that transition, and a few show signs of deeper distress that may be more difficult to reverse.

Revitalization, however, reflected in both the social and economic well-being of the city’s population and the vitality of its housing market and neighborhoods, appears to hinge on connecting residents to regional job markets, tapping into regional housing demand, and growing new economic sectors capable of changing a city’s image and drawing strong private investment.