Urban Revitalization in the United States: Policies and Practices

Since the 1970s American cities, particularly those in the Northeast and Midwest, have striven to address the opportunities and challenges of the transition from an industrial to a postindustrial, knowledge based economy. As manufacturing firms and employment migrated to the southern United States and overseas, the industrial cities of the Northeast encountered a decline in middle-class population and an increase in low-income and poor residents, which decreased the city’s tax base at the same time it placed an unprecedented burden on municipal services. Northeastern cities, which had grown to maturity in the 1950s and 1960s on the basis of policies and practices adopted during the early twentieth century, were compelled to innovate spatial and social strategies to revitalize neighborhoods and stimulate urban growth and development. Though unrecognized early on, the decline induced by deindustrialization and the departure of manufacturing firms opened up vast new expanses of often highly desirable urban space for redevelopment and reuse by contemporary residents and developers.

Today many southern and international cities that grew through the relocation of northeastern manufacturing activities face a familiar “urban crisis.” In other words, the success of “industry-centric urban development made these areas desirable to additional households and firms for a period of time However, the increased demand for residential and production sites, new or old, and rising standards of living have led to increased production costs and caused manufacturing once more to seek cheaper havens on new shores.

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Article Credit
“Urban Revitalization in the United States: Policies and Practices”
By Stacey A. Sutton
United States Urban Revitalization Research Project Final Report. Columbia University. 25 June 2008.