Last week in Detroit, the Legacy City Design Forum convened over a hundred designers, planners, architects, developers, community leaders, public officials and policy makers to share innovative design interventions in legacy cities. Cities represented include: Detroit, Gary, Flint, New Orleans, Baltimore, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Syracuse, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The forum was structured to include comparative case studies between Cleveland, Syracuse, Detroit and Buffalo, and featured guest speakers and interactive work sessions. The two themes of the conference were 1) rethinking land use to create sustainable urban neighborhoods and 2) innovative infrastructure in high vacancy areas.
Mount Laurel, once a small, rural farming town in central New Jersey, has become a model for the integration of affordable housing in higher-income neighborhoods. A report by Princeton sociologist Douglas S. Massey called “Climbing Mount Laurel” reveals the positive outcomes of the long-fought land use battle, finding that fears of crime, drugs and blight were largely unfounded. The affluent families felt no impact, while low-income families saw their lives improve.
There have been changes in life in Mount Laurel. But the changes are entirely consistent with those in demographically similar suburbs that surround the township. In all these communities, crime rates fell. Property values rose during the housing boom and dipped during the recession. Tax rates declined. Even in the Mount Laurel neighborhoods closest to the affordable housing, property values were unaffected. To most residents, the fact that poor families now live in Mount Laurel has proved entirely irrelevant.
Six-month-old in tow, we flew here for a weekend, hooked up with a real-estate agent by a soon-to-be Kent State colleague. “I think Cleveland Heights or Shaker Heights seems like the right fit for us,” I told her assuredly, but she insisted on dragging us through Cuyahoga Falls and Hudson, her out-of-work executive husband unhelpfully along for the ride. “Hudson,” he drawled, in his Texas accent, “is a regular U-NI-ted Nations.”
Adjusting to the changing tides of the city:
We didn’t know then that the roomy bookstore would close a few years later, along with countless other bookstores in America [. . .]. We didn’t yet know that one failed school levy too many would eventually push us, then with two kids, three miles south to Shaker, another well-integrated suburb but one that more consistently funds its schools.
Welcome to the beta site of the American Assembly’s Legacy Cities blog! We are excited to continue developing this site and turn this into an active forum and base of knowledge sharing between our community working to advance legacy cities, as well as a way to connect the diverse and growing group of emerging professionals in legacy cities, including city leaders from the public sector, business owners, university presidents, community board members and the diaspora beyond.
We want to seize the opportunity to look at legacy cities from a national perspective. Our central goals embrace this “big picture” role:
1. Be a connector of ideas: track activities from other city/regional micro-blogs, along with national media sources, and draw meaningful connections between individuals and organizations active in separate but related spaces.
2. Produce content via guest contributors (opinion, analysis, case studies, interactive media) that expands on a local issue and makes it more applicable to a broader legacy cities audience.… Read More
With help from local businesses and organizations, the city of Dayton attracts new immigrant waves from Turkey and Kenya.
Local groups gave courses for immigrants opening small businesses and helped families of refugees and foreign students. City officials worked with Wright State University, a public institution, to find ways for immigrant doctors and engineers to cut through bureaucracy and gain certifications so they could practice in the United States.
The ‘Revitalizing the Legacy Cities of Upstate New York’ Assembly was a great success, convening over 100 participants from around the state to identify and prioritize strategies to strengthen the economies and communities across Upstate New York.