Where can you find Pocky sticks five steps away from tikka masala sauce? Across much of the U.S., products hailing from across the globe find themselves crammed side by side in the international food aisle. While international food aisles can be controversial (What counts as international, or American for that matter?), they hold a special significance in the Midwest, where access to ethnic ingredients can be sparse.
The Midwest is often maligned as being “flyover country.” Stereotypes, like people being “too nice” or there only being corn fields in every direction, paint a largely generalized and inaccurate picture of the U.S. region. It does have, however, another name: the Heartland. We are a region not only full of rich history and culture, unparalleled landscapes and stunning architecture, but also — and most importantly — full of heart.
For the last several decades, malls across the country have been closing one after another, leaving behind not only abandoned buildings, but also renewed interest in what malls mean to people, why they are disappearing in the first place and what can be done to save them (or if they should be saved at all). Toledo, Ohio, for example, remains enamored with the memory of its long-gone shopping complexes and what they meant for a thriving, mid-sized, Midwestern city. Cover graphic by Jessie Walton for Midstory.
The saying goes that you can only have two of three options: good, fast, cheap. In a world challenged by COVID-19 and other underlying unrest in 2020, however, designers are tasked with satisfying all three to solve complex societal issues. This piece outlines how formal and informal design can shape a world in trouble, and attempts a more human response to extraordinary circumstances. Cover graphic by Whitney Baxter for Midstory.
The word Ohio is one that elicits conflicting emotions and thoughts in me. The state is my home but also a place I’ve sought to leave. It’s a source of both pride and frustration. Leaving for college and then returning on a quasi-temporary basis has helped define the nature of my relationship with Ohio—one that’s been aided by distance. José Pablo Fernández García is a sophomore at Princeton University, currently residing in his hometown outside of Cincinnati during the pandemic. (Part I of a two-part series.)
Midstory is a 501(c)(3) non-profit thinkhub that progresses the narrative of the Midwest by incubating bright, diverse and interdisciplinary thinkers to exchange ideas and envision the future of our region through multimedia storytelling and solutions-oriented research since its founding in 2018.
As an educational media organization, we inform, interpret and inspire in and for the Midwest and believe that our region’s challenges can be our greatest asset to drive renewed interest and human capital into post-industrial cities.