Wednesday, April 14, 2021

‘The Place That Meeks As’ Review: Rebuilding, Brick by Brick

Cities ravaged by industrial shutdowns should never be written dead. “The Place That Makes Us” sees a handful of people trying to revitalize Youngstown, Ohio, where residents shuttled from steel mills, a cacophony of empty homes and a brink of civic engagement.

The film, directed by Karla Murthy, is, to a large extent, perhaps too narrowly focused on the work Youngtown Neighborhood Development CorporationA nonprofit that rehabilitates vacant homes with the goal of turning ghostly blocks into desirable neighborhoods. Topics profiled include Ian Beniston, the group’s executive director, and Tiffany Sokol, its housing director, who removes plywood through a door and leads us through the process of surveying the potential of an abandoned home. Finally, we have sold it to a new owner, whom we have known.

Elsewhere, Julius T. Oliver, a city councilor, focuses on investing in Youngstown’s youth to reopen the once-thriving basketball arena. Along with the filmmakers, he visits the former landmarks of the two houses in which he grew up. (After speaking of violence around the first place, he says that the problems eventually traveled to another.) Quickly, he talks about how. Businessmen, he found, have a simple belief that a neighborhood “looks scary” can deter potential customers.

The stories of families “give place to proposal” in a resolution help more than a policy proposal. Ian’s father, a former Steele officer, says, “If I had to do that Do it again, I would not be in Youngistan. Ian and his sister, Abby, who have chosen to stay, have a more optimistic outlook.

The place that makes us
Not rated. Running Time: 1 hour 10 minutes. View on PBS platforms.

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