The American Assembly is handing off its legacy cities work to Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Stay tuned for announcements later this year about a new Legacy Cities Initiative led by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. This work will build on the efforts led by The American Assembly and its partners from 2012-2017.
The Legacy Cities Initiative is designed to help spur equitable revitalization in formerly industrial cities that are struggling with economic and population decline. The Initiative will center around the collection and dissemination of information on legacy city revitalization efforts:
What is happening in which legacy city
Who is undertaking this work
Promising new policies or programs
New research efforts and findings
If you are doing work to bring about equitable revitalization in one or more legacy cities, whether as a funder, practitioner, advocate, researcher, or resident, please tell us about it by filling out this survey.… Read More
As part of its legacy cities work, The American Assembly has embarked on an initiative with the authors of its recent publication On the Edge: America’s Middle Neighborhoods and editor Paul Brophy to build leadership and support around the issue of middle neighborhoods. Middle neighborhoods are on the edge of growth and decline. They are generally more racially diverse, housing is typically affordable, and quality of life—measured by employment rates, crime rates, and school performance—is sufficiently good so that new home buyers are willing to play the odds. With a small amount of investment (or a little more neglect), middle neighborhoods can greatly impact the future of a legacy city, either tipping surrounding areas into deeper decline or stabilizing them.… Read More
As the federal administration continues its attack on the health, safety and security of millions of Americans, we commit to helping protect invaluable programs that help stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods, recognizing that legacy city communities will be some of the hardest hit by massive budget cuts and impending tax reform.
The Federal HTC has been an effective tool for neighborhood revitalization in many legacy cities, as it incentivizes private investment in the rehabilitation of older, historic buildings and returns vacant and underutilized buildings to the tax rolls. Preservation can also provide a much-needed platform for public discourse and collective activity around equitable approaches to affordability and the preservation of cultural heritage. Learn more about the Federal Historic Tax Credit in action in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois on the advocacy briefs below, and check out our work with the Preservation Rightsizing Network to learn more about the legacy cities approach to preservation in legacy cities.… Read More
On February 26, 2016, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) published a new draft policy statement on Historic Preservation and Community Revitalization seeking comments from the public. We appreciate the ACHP’s recognition of the important connections between preservation and community revitalization. We share the goal of empowering federal, state, and local governments to achieve revitalization goals while promoting the reuse and rehabilitation of historic properties.
However, the policy statement needs to go further in clearly describing the issues involved and charting a clear path forward for federal, state, and local government agencies and partners in this essential work. We urge the ACHP to revise the policy statement so it can play a stronger role in addressing the major challenges facing historic buildings and neighborhoods in America’s legacy cities. We invite any preservationists and legacy city allies with an interest in this topic to consider our response and share your own comments with the ACHP by this Monday, April 4, 2016.… Read More
City leaders from around the country attended an Action Agenda release event this past December in Newark. The new Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities lays out a wide-ranging plan to address urban challenges by advancing new development while protecting communities’ cultural heritage. It was developed by a group of preservation professionals, planners, land bank staff, and local, state, and federal officials in June 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio.
The 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. Guests participated in sneak-peek tours of the ongoing redevelopment of the historic Hahne & Company building, which is being highlighted as a successful, collaborative approach that combined preservation and economic revitalization – a challenge in many legacy cities like Newark, Detroit, and more.
Co-hosted by Rutgers University – Newark, the event will feature PechaKucha-style speakers who will share innovative ideas from the world of historic preservation from around the country. Our partners at Rutgers University – Newark have also helped coordinate tours for attendees of the ongoing redevelopment of the historic Hahne & Company building, which is being highlighted as a successful, collaborative approach that combined preservation and economic revitalization – a challenge in many legacy cities like Newark, Detroit, and more.
We also hope that this event amplifies the imperative of the LCP mission: faced with heightened challenges of a struggling economy and overabundance of vacant property, legacy cities need new tools and new strategies in order to preserve all that makes them special, and ensure that they are also more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable places to live.… Read More
Driving through Soulsville, a community in Memphis that lives up to its name, we pass by modest homes, long-vacant buildings (including the house where Aretha Franklin grew up), deteriorated roads and sidewalks, and overgrown and dumped-on lots that presumably were once home to families and businesses. Our group had just met at the Memphis Slim House, a vibrant and inspiring local community arts and education organization that had mustered the will and resources to help nourish their neighborhood’s soul–one mural, one bus stop, one gathering place, one creative outlet, and one soul at a time.
But still, as we continued to explore this part of the city, it was hard to ignore all of the… blight?
Then a brief but strange encounter with the police during our visit reaffirmed that this community’s problems were deep and that the tools being used to deal with these problems are blunt and imperfect.… Read More
Today, on National Citizenship Day, President Obama launched the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign to celebrate immigrant and refugee contributions to our country’s social and cultural fabric, and to provide critical resources for those on the path to becoming American citizens. Noting the vital role immigrants have for our country’s continued economic prosperity, President Obama released a video message to encourage residents to commit to US Citizenship today.
My fellow urban policy thinker and sometimes debating partner Aaron Renn at the Manhattan Institute just released a report on Brain Gain in America’s Shrinking Cities. Next City ran an article on Thursday on the topic with some interesting examples of the types of programs Renn advises against. Renn makes some essential points to which every leader in a legacy city should take note. It boils down to this: “brain drain” isn’t happening in your city or it isn’t happening the way you think it is, so change your strategy. (Update: See Renn’s latest article about this in Syracuse.) His main points are pasted below, but the full report is well worth the read and is packed with insightful charts and tables that unpack these observations.
Every major metro area in the country that has been losing population and/or jobs is actually gaining people with college degrees at double digit rates.
We asked graduate students from Columbia University‘s architecture and urban design program to reflect on their studio in Newburgh, NY, and what makes work in legacy cities distinct from other American cities. The second winning submission comes to us from Anais Niembro and Nans Voron. Thanks to all the teams who participated!
Working in Newburgh was a challenge for us, as students coming from all other the world. We had to face specific issues deeply rooted in the social struggles of the last 50 years in the United States. We had to quickly analyze and understand this historical context in order to identify triggers and leverage the tools that we had.
Our involvement with the city of Newburgh was also a challenge for the community. Even though many stakeholders were enthusiastic about our collaboration, addressing the local community was difficult. Many were intimidated by our “investigation”, others worried that our work would lead to gentrification and to a loss of social ties amongst the residents.… Read More