Preservation Advocacy for Legacy Cities

Last week, the Legacy Cities Partnership supported grassroots efforts to protect the Federal Historic Tax Credit during the Preservation Action Network’s Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C.

 

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

Our Response to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

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

National Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities

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.

After the jump, watch Nicholas Hamilton, The American Assembly’s Director of Urban Policy, and Cara Bertron, the Chair of the Preservation Rightsizing Network, discuss the importance of historic preservation in the revitalization of America’s legacy cities on New Jersey’s Fios 1.… Read More

Legacy City Preservation: A National Conversation on Innovation + Practice

Planning has been underway for a free public event in Newark, NJ this coming Tuesday, December 8th. We’ve invited national preservation experts and urban thinkers to help us celebrate the release of the Preservation Rightsizing Network’s (PRN) 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.

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

Why We Need a New Word for “Blight”

By Justin G. Moore

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

National Welcoming Week and News Updates

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.

In conjunction with this announcement, the White House Task Force on New Americans is coordinating with local partners who are holding over 70 citizenship outreach events across the country this week. Many of America’s legacy cities are taking the lead in creating a welcoming environment for immigrants to thrive and contribute back to their communities. The campaign was launched in conjunction with community partners and civic leaders across the country. The #StandStrongerUS campaign is also working with organizations like the PVBLIC Foundation, an in-kind grant making organization, to harness the power of donated advertising space from leading media companies.… Read More

Brain Gain in Legacy Cities

By Nicholas Hamilton

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.
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Perspectives from Newburgh, Part Two

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

Baltimore: From Consultation to Collaboration

anthonyscottheadshotBy Anthony Scott

Over the past eight months, I participated in the Opportunity Collaborative Fellows Program, which brought together 33 local leaders to respond to a plan developed for the Baltimore metropolitan region. The collaboration was initiated in order to 1) ensure the plan reflected the needs of the region, and 2) foster local leaders’ ability to think regionally to solve the region’s disparities.

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC), and the Opportunity Collaborative (the Collaborative)— a consortium of local governments, Maryland state agencies, universities and nonprofit organizations—worked for three years to develop the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD) for the Baltimore metropolitan region. The RPSD provides a way forward for Baltimore City and surrounding counties to coordinate investments in housing, transportation and workforce development, and to reduce disparities recently highlighted by police violence and the resulting unrest amongst residents. The Collaborative, funded by a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from the U.S.… Read More

Perspectives from Newburgh, Part One

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 first post comes to us from Katherine Flores. Thanks to all the teams who submitted posts!

Each city or town in New York’s Hudson River Valley has some degree of positive or negative aspects relative to one another. These nuances are what create the tension between defining regional systems and negotiating multiple urban design scales. At the scale of the city, each legacy city can carry its own identity. Newburgh and other cities such as Poughkeepsie or Beacon have similar situations from the stress, or even trauma, of going through urban renewal.

But in the case of Newburgh, when one first researches the city online it is likely you will get a crime alert. If you research Poughkeepsie, that is not the case.… Read More