Rebuilding America's Legacy Cities: New Directions for the Industrial Heartland
Rebuilding America's Legacy Cities: New Directions for the Industrial Heartland is available for free chapter downloads below or hardcopy at hardcopy available Amazon.com.
While we may not yet know enough to offer a road map to create the smaller, healthier city we can imagine, we can begin to put the pieces together to help build that map for cities ready to make the effort to get there. The first step is to acknowledge that change will require not a single step, but many separate, parallel steps along many different paths in order to address the complex and interrelated issues that have led to and that perpetuate the current condition of the nation’s legacy cities. While much of the “shrinking city” discussion—and much of the media attention it has received—has focused on what to do about these cities’ large and growing inventory of vacant land and buildings, that is only part of the picture and cannot be addressed in isolation. Creative strategies for using vacant land in heavily abandoned areas will not in themselves restore a city to health unless they are matched with successful efforts to stabilize the local economy, re-engage residents in the workforce, and reinvigorate the city’s still-viable neighborhoods. We need a shrinking city discussion that is far broader in scope than the debate over demolishing buildings and using vacant land, and which recognizes the complex relationships between today’s problems and their solutions.
The rich material contained in this volume offers thought-provoking reading for anyone concerned with the transformation of America’s older industrial cities, either with respect to a specific city or from a broader perspective, whether the reader is a policymaker, practitioner, or concerned layperson. These chapters do not suggest that that the process of change will be an easy one. They do offer a robust collection of ideas and directions that can help animate local action or state policy and help practitioners and policymakers take the steps that may indeed lead to the smaller, stronger and healthier city that the authors believe is possible.