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The Midwestern Mall: Not Quite Gone and Not Quite Forgotten

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.

Why Design? Principles to Shape a World in Unrest

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.

My Long-distance Love for Ohio

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.)

Charity Appeal: Celebrity Influence in Times of Crisis

It might seem counterintuitive that entertainment and cultural icons thrive during tremendous times of hardship, but history has proven it true.  During the Great Depression,...

Toledo’s Timeline Historians

Vintage whiskey bottles, faded newspaper clippings and lengthy historical descriptions are perhaps most likely to be found in a small, eclectic museum. But Toledo, Ohio’s history buffs have found an unlikely place for archiving, research and lasting connection: Facebook. With as many as 15,000+ members and 20+ posts a day that garner hundreds of comments and reactions in a single group, the community is one of the most lively public forums in the mid-sized Midwestern town.

Billboards and the Re-imagination of the American Landscape

Few things are quite as Midwestern as long, open roads on monotonously flat stretches of land, broken up by fantastically mismatched billboards firmly staked...

Ope! The Midwest on Twitter

Geography, politics and demographics are all typical ways we define regions, but Twitter account @midwestern_ope demonstrates a more creative approach: jokes, memes & good ol’ fashioned self-deprecation that make fun of but also highlight the people and day-to-day characteristics of the Midwest. In the process, these tweets highlight Midwestern identity in a manner often left out of the national conversation recently focused on the region’s politics.

The Quiet Revolution of Midwestern Speech

For decades, the Midwest was the example of perfect, accentless English. Now, increasing dialectic quirks are changing that perception, and with it, Midwestern identity.

The Power of Place and the Tradition of American Symbols

At a moment of social unrest motivated by a struggle for racial justice and framed by a pandemic, protesters haven’t sought policy changes alone; they’ve also sought to recast other facets of our society, including long-standing monuments. A look back in time shows that the ensuing debate on monuments is not a new conversation in American history.

The Politics of Midwestern Identity & Racial Divides

The nationwide protests spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have brought a magnifying glass on the Midwestern city—its people, its politics...

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