Urban Policy

Legacy City Design Initiative

The Legacy City Design Initiative was a collaborative network that shared innovative design practices to revitalize legacy cities.

Legacy Cities Design Bruner Loeb Forum 2013

The Assembly cosponsored the 2013 Bruner Loeb Forum, held on November 7th, 2013, under the theme "Legacy City Design," as part of The Assembly's Legacy Cities Design Initiative, a joint project of The American Assembly and J Max Bond Center.

"Middle Neighborhoods: Action Agenda for a National Movement"

2018. Paul C. Brophy (ed.), Pamela Puchalski (ed.), Stephanie Sung (ed.)

"Middle Neighborhoods: Action Agenda for a National Movement" is a report that summarizes discussions on policy, practice, and research, as well as priorities and recommendations for action following the meeting, held November 15-16, 2017 in Baltimore.

Download the summary report.

Middle Neighborhoods: Action Agenda for a National Movement

The "Middle Neighborhoods: Action Agenda for a National Movement" meeting, held between November 15th-16th, 2017 in Baltimore, convened local and national advocates to advance thinking and prioritize action on middle neighborhoods.

On the Edge: America's Middle Neighborhoods

2016. Paul C. Brophy (ed.)

On the Edge: America’s Middle Neighborhoods aims to stimulate a national dialogue about middle neighborhoods transitioning—for better or worse—across the US.

National Leaders Announce Action Agenda For Legacy Cities Video

Urban Leaders, Landmark Experts Celebrate Newark’s Hahne & Company Revitalization As Example of How Historic Preservation Can Spur Development Strengthen Legacy Cities Across the Nation

***Click here to watch Nicholas Hamilton, The American Assembly's Director of Urban Policy discuss the importance of historic preservation in the revitalization of America's legacy cities on New Jersey's Fios 1***

Today, a consortium including the Legacy Cities Partnership at The American Assembly, the Preservation Rightsizing Network (PRN) released a new Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities, which lays out a wide-ranging plan to address urban challenges by advancing new development while protecting communities’ cultural heritage.

Tuesday’s release was accompanied by a public discussion co-hosted by Rutgers University – Newark (RU-N) with over 40 of the nation’s top urban development and historic landmark experts. As part of that discussion, PRN conducted a tour of the ongoing redevelopment of the historic Hahne & Company building, which is being highlighted as a successful, collaborative approach that combined preservation andeconomic revitalization – a challenge in many legacy cities like Newark, Detroit, and more.

The Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities — which can be accessed here — is a nine-point strategy that shapes a new approach to preservation, adapts existing tools and policies used by preservationists, and promotes place-based collaboration, especially in legacy cities like Newark, Detroit, and Cleveland (also known as Rust Belt cities or shrinking cities). By offering new strategies for protecting local cultural heritage, the Action Agenda serves as a guide for preserving the stories of Rust Belt cities and communities and make them more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable in the face of economic shifts. Using examples from Cincinnati, Buffalo, Detroit, and more, the Agenda offers suggested next steps, potential partners from preservation and allied fields, and financing and coalition-building toolkits for urban development and preservation advocates.

Emilie Evans, co-founder of Brick + Beam Detroit, an initiative that connects and supports building rehabbers in Detroit, said: “The Action Agenda provides clear steps legacy cities can take to leverage older buildings and local heritage as powerful assets for revitalization. It bolsters core tenets of Brick + Beam’s mission to support the rehabilitation of Detroit’s incredible older buildings, engage meaningfully with local property owners and tradespeople, and develop practical tools to move reinvestment projects forward.”

The Action Agenda was released in Newark in recognition of the leadership and partnerships demonstrated during the planning and redevelopment of the Hahne & Company building, which had sat vacant for over 30 years. The new development will include a full-line grocery store, affordable and market-rate housing, and a major arts program space and incubator conceived and implemented by Rutgers University-Newark and community partners including local artists, arts organizations, and other arts and culture anchor institutions in Newark.

Rutgers University – Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor said: “The Action Agenda’s clarion call to carry forward the ‘legacy’ of legacy cities by preserving their stories entails an equally powerful call to amplify the voices of diverse new generations in retelling them. That is a challenge to all of us—in Newark and legacy cities like it everywhere—and it is precisely what we have in mind with our university-community collaboratory we are developing in the Hahne & Company building and precisely why we think the name of our collaboratory, ‘Express Newark,’ is so apt. We are thrilled to be working with the Preservation Rightsizing Network to advance this shared agenda.”

The Preservation Rightsizing Network meets annually to bring leading preservationists and allies together and supports local leaders in generating national conferences on historic preservation in legacy cities, including a previous conference held in Cleveland (2014) with another scheduled for Detroit (2016).

President of the Lucas County Land Bank, David P. Mann, said: "Faced with unprecedented economic challenges and property abandonment, legacy cities must seize new tools and new strategies in order to preserve all that makes them special. This Action Agenda is a smart step in that direction, not just to help save historic assets, but to ensure that the voice of the historic preservation movement is heard in this important and ongoing conversation."

Cleveland City Councilman Jeffrey Johnson said: “Historic preservation is vital in the revitalization of Cleveland. Our history, as told through the older buildings and neighborhoods, is the foundation on which our community must rebuild.”

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Preservation Rightsizing Network

The Preservation Rightsizing Network (PRN) works with legacy cities to preserve local heritage and revitalize the built environment. It provides ways to engage, share best practices, and develop new tools to strengthen communities for the future. www.rightsizeplace.org

Rutgers University - Newark 
Rutgers University - Newark (RU-N) is a diverse, urban, public research university that is an anchor institution in New Jersey’s largest city and cultural capital. Nearly 11,500 students are currently enrolled at its 38-acre campus in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School-Newark, Rutgers Business School – Newark and New Brunswick, the Rutgers Law School, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. An engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility, RU-N has a remarkable legacy of producing high-impact scholarship that is connected to the great questions and challenges of the world. A pivotal strength is that RU-N brings an exceptional diversity of people to this work—students, faculty, staff, and community partners—increasing it innovation, creativity, engagement, and relevance for our time and the times ahead. For more information please visit www.newark.rutgers.edu.

The Legacy Cities Partnership
The Legacy Cities Partnership—housed at Columbia University’s bipartisan policy institute, The American Assembly—aims to strengthen capacities for policy change and governance reform, share lessons in urban stabilization and regeneration, and connect the array of federal, regional, state, and local initiatives to revitalize America’s legacy cities.  www.legacycities.org

Contacts:

Cara Bertron (Preservation Rightsizing Network)
cara.bertron@gmail.com, (512) 913-9680

Peter Englot (Rutgers University - Newark)
peter.englot@rutgers.edu, (973) 353-5541

Urban Leaders, Landmark Experts Celebrate Newark’s Hahne & Company Revitalization As Example of How Historic Preservation Can Spur Development Strengthen Legacy Cities Across the Nation. Today, a consortium including the Legacy Cities Partnership at The American Assembly, the Preservation Rightsizing Network (PRN) released a new Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities, which lays out a wide-ranging plan to address urban challenges by advancing new development while protecting communities’ cultural heritage.

Legacy City Preservation: A National Conversation on Innovation + Practice

The "Legacy City Preservation: A National Conversation on Innovation + Practice" conference was held in Newark, NJ, on December 8th, 2015.

"Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities"

2015. Cara Bertron (ed.)

A report containing a nine-point strategy to shape new approaches to preservation, to adapt existing tools and policies used by preservationists, and to promote place-based collaboration, especially in legacy cities like Newark, Detroit, and Cleveland.

National Leaders Announce Action Agenda For Legacy Cities

Urban leaders and landmark experts celebrated Newark’s Hahne & Company Revitalization as an example of how historic preservation can spur development and strengthen legacy cities across the country on December 8th, 2015.

"Revitalizing the Legacy Cities of Upstate New York"

2012

A report that calls for stronger partnerships among municipal governments and local anchor institutions, for regional export plans and venture funds, and for fully utilizing the opportunities afforded by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Councils in the service of New York's struggling upstate cities.

The American Assembly
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