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The Smaller Legacy City Toolkit

Researchers and scholars have written volumes about revitalizing legacy cities – localities struggling to replace the vanished industries on which their economies depended. While the cities like Detroit make headlines, many smaller cities suffer the same challenges, but lack the help and resources to address them.

In their 2017 report, Revitalizing America’s Smaller Legacy Cities: Strategies for Postindustrial Success from Gary to Lowell, the Greater Ohio Policy Center and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy identified eight strategies for revitalizing older industrial communities with populations under 200,000:

  1. Strengthen Civic Capacity
  2. Encourage a Shared Vision
  3. Expand Opportunities for Low-Income Workers
  4. Build on an Authentic Sense of Place
  5. Focus Regional Efforts on a Strong Downtown
  6. Engage in Community and Strategic Planning
  7. Stabilize Distressed Neighborhoods
  8. Strategically Leverage State Policies

The Smaller Legacy City Toolkit expands on those strategies, offering practical tools such as how-to guides and checklists, describing relevant programs that practitioners can replicate locally, and providing background information on the challenges and recommended approaches. The toolkit includes examples of what has worked in other cities and features case studies of South Bend, Ind. and Lancaster, Penn.

With contributions from LISC Toledo and cities and nonprofits throughout the Northeast and Midwest, the toolkit offers a thorough grounding for officials and practitioners, showing how they can address revitalization issues step-by-step, even without significant resources.

Explore the Smaller Legacy City Toolkit

Posted in Affordable Housing, Commercial and Economic Development

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