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Lancaster: A city France can learn from

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The Lancaster city skyline.
The Lancaster city skyline. - (Photo / )

Lancaster City has been cited again as an example of a city putting aside politics to solve its problems from the bottom up, but this time it is the French taking note.

Last year, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that during a visit to Lancaster, he was blown away by what the city had accomplished in an effort to address growing poverty and unemployment rates.

Columnist Laurent Marchand of the newspaper Ouest-France - based in the city of Rennes, west of Paris - cited what Friedman saw in Lancaster as being relevant to smaller towns and cities in France, a nation that  is notoriously centralized around Paris, its capital.

Marchand translated for the French Friedman’s notion that Lancaster has found leaders and practical solutions outside of political parties and without relying on the federal government. It has relied instead on nonprofits and coalitions. And he said similar efforts are under way in some French towns, including Vitre, a town in the province of Brittany.

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Ioannis Pashakis

Ioannis Pashakis

Ioannis Pashakis covers health care and Lancaster County. Email him at ipashakis@cpbj.com.

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