Finding One Economic Bright Spot on Main Street

The recession is hitting American cities hard, but some are equipped to survive. How Pittsburgh remade itself after the last crash--and what others can learn from it

Scott Goldsmith / Aurora for TIME

A worker at ATI, which specializes in making high-tech alloys.

Pittsburgh knows all about recessions. This city was left for dead when steel and heavy manufacturing were smothered by globalization that started some 20 years ago. Pittsburgh never had a housing boom. How could it, when a quarter of the population evaporated when the jobs did? Pittsburgh's finances were so awful that it became a virtual ward of the state in 2003. Is your burg afraid of losing airline service? USAir's business crashed here in 2002. The spacious airport is half empty on a Sunday.

With Wall Street going off the cliff, and housing prices still declining in many areas, both...

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