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Conor Sen

The U.S. Cities Left Behind Now Get Their Turn

The current recovery brings a chance for places like Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Riverside, California, to reinvent themselves.
Riverside, California, has potential.

Riverside, California, has potential.

Photographer: David McNew/Getty Images

The past decade has divided U.S. geography into haves and have nots. The haves: educated, wealthy communities in large metro areas like New York and San Francisco. The have nots: places with structural problems like cities in the Rust Belt; communities that suffered the worst in the housing bust like Riverside, California; plus perhaps smaller and mid-size cities that lack the infrastructure, amenities and diverse economies of larger metro areas.

There's good news for those left-behind places. The strength and breadth of the current economic expansion is finally about to give them a chance to adapt and reorient themselves as we look toward the next decade.