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The Round-Up Volume 25: What's the Deal with Ohio?

The Buckeye State is known as a bellwether for American politics. But there’s a whole lot more to Ohio’s story.

February 11, 2021

In many ways, Ohio represents a microcosm of American life. 

A diverse mix of urban and rural, blue collar and white collar, and Democrat and Republican, the state has long served as a reliable indicator for how presidential elections will shake out. “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation,” they say. (Well, except for last year… but did anything go according to plan in 2020?)

Ohio also is widely considered the nation’s testing grounds for new products. And there are even popular memes playing up Ohio’s representative status.

That’s all well and good, but we’re here to tell you there’s a whole lot more to unpack.

Feature Story

Ohio’s Housing Record: Room for Improvement

For all the political clout Ohio carries, the state can’t claim to be on the leading edge of housing.

Take, for instance, the fact that 9 of the country’s 20 worst counties for underwater mortgages are in Ohio. That’s a shaky foundation for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

We believe there’s a conversation to be had about eliminating inequality, driving economic recovery, and setting the standard for America’s post-pandemic cities. Because, in an economic recovery that’s shockingly uneven, ownership is said to be a dividing line.

The good news is that the pandemic has presented a clean slate for American cities to start addressing long-standing inequities along class and racial divides.

And the cores of big American cities are not being hollowed out like some may have you believe. In cities like Cincinnati and Cleveland, urban home values have actually accelerated faster than suburban ones, according to Zillow. Surveys have shown that, despite the pandemic, Americans who live in cities like New York and Chicago are willing to embrace lifestyle changes if it means they can stay in the big city. And, as Midwestern cities like Columbus continue to climb the ranks in size and quality, they could very well find themselves being considered the new ‘big city.’

There is cause to be hopeful as innovative companies drive investment, create jobs, and change the way we live our lives. Rhove and other PropTech companies are changing the nature of housing by providing greater access and opportunity to everyone. In northeast Ohio’s “Voltage Valley,” hope springs anew with electric vehicle investment on the site of a shuttered General Motors auto manufacturing facility. We’re optimistic because, without stable employment, there can’t be stable housing.

While Ohio certainly has work to do to become an example of what American housing can be, there’s no reason it can’t be accomplished.

Learn More

Dwight Smith, CEO of Sophisticated Systems Inc., shares what equality means to him.

This Black History Month, we’re celebrating the history makers who throughout their careers have served as leaders and role models in the Columbus community. Living Legends, as we call them.

Below are interviews with Dwight Smith, CEO of Sophisticated Systems Inc. and Co-Founder of My Special Word, and Barb Smoot, President & CEO of Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD). Calvin Cooper (Rhove Co-Founder & CEO) asked them about leadership, the future of our communities, and what Black History Month means to them.

Check back each week for more interviews, and follow us on social media for more inspiration from our community's Living Legends.

In Other News

  • In the latest salvo in the ongoing spat between Apple and Facebook, Apple CEO Tim Cook denounced tech companies that use “vast troves of personal data… in order to succeed.” We share this in part to note that Rhove stores as little data as possible to achieve the specific goal of our customers. Even when given the opportunity to collect additional financial and personal data, we elect not to and will continue to make the right choice for our customers.

  • Switzerland now allows tokenized securities to be traded on a blockchain with the same legal standing as traditional assets. This coming on the heels of an announcement from Elon Musk regarding Tesla’s $1.5 billion position in BTC, and the company’s aim to accept cryptocurrencies as payment in the near-term.

  • With the second impeachment trial for President Trump underway, big constitutional questions are being argued.

Parting Thoughts

As the world continues to change in ways we couldn’t have imagined a year ago, we see an amazing opportunity to strengthen the bonds of our communities. 

“As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” Let’s lead by example, and live up to our heartland aspirations. It won’t be easy, and we’ll need to be innovative, compassionate, determined, and focused. Together we can achieve a more perfect union.

The time to hit the reset button and to shape a better future is now. At the core of what we must do next is to rebuild our communal bonds. Our contribution to this better future is to empower every renter to be an owner. This vision will strengthen our communities, our states, and our nation. The future is about strengthening Democracy. It’s about maximizing opportunity and access for everyone.

“The pandemic has proved just how vital the design of our communities is to all of us.”  —Mariela Alfonzo and Sam Lubell for Slate