America’s “Rust Belt” Offers Excellent Lifestyle Options (in spite of what you may have heard!)

St. Louis SkylineA few words of praise about America’s older industrial cities: they sometimes receive a bad rap from the press, and unfortunately from some relocation folks. But it’s important to understand that places like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis offer many attractive lifestyle options from downtown lofts in lively neighborhoods to leafy suburbs. There are usually excellent cultural amenities, professional sports teams, great architecture, waterfronts, park systems, interesting ethnic mix and food variety, university communities, and excellent health care institutions.

Tycoons in America’s gilded age amassed great wealth in the decades following the Civil War through the 1920s. They devoted their energies and fortunes to building institutions for their cities, whether through a sense of civic pride or to earn the praise of citizens and government entities. They funded fine buildings and concert music halls, and invested in artwork that was gifted to local museums and institutes. Almost every city of the great industrial age boasts a quality symphony orchestra, with Cleveland’s orchestra ranked among the world’s best, on a par with renowned New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia symphonies.

Another legacy of cities’ prime years of industrial might is good schools – including private, parochial, and special schools such as high schools for the arts. Commutes by automobile are not nearly as challenging as places like LA and Washington DC, and frequently they offer good public transportation. Most of all, they offer good real estate value – for both home purchasers and renters. Costs are far lower than coastal cities or mega-metros, and often the renter enjoys lots of space and the charms of renovated buildings, from traditional Greek revival to striking early modernist structures. So if you’re destined for an assignment in America’s “rust belt” you can look forward to a quality lifestyle with a variety of options.