There's a race on to rename the Rust Belt, or at least individual regions, and redefine the troubled geographic area as a much more modern, inviting, and prosperous place to live and work.
The latest example of that comes from the Pittsburgh-Cleveland corridor, where entrepreneurs and now elected officials aim to rebrand their deindustrializing region as a Tech Belt rich with cutting edge life science firms, innovative universities, and other high tech initiatives capable of competing on a global scale.
In June 2007, this blog reported that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret recommended branding the region as the Fresh Coast. Others propose the North Coast, the Blue Belt, or the Third Coast.
But there's another term just waiting to be dusted off, reclaimed, and saved: Heartland.
There was a time when the people of America's Heartland - roughly defined as the states of the greater Great Lakes region - pioneered innovative new industries, social programs, and modern cities that set the course for a nation and changed the world.
That's a history of hard work and accomplishment that can never be stripped from the mega Midwest. And the time is ripe to rekindle that sense of purpose and leadership for another century of success that makes the Rust Belt period look like a fleeting blip on the arc of time.
Heartland. Now is the moment to take the label and all it embodies back.