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ERIC Number: ED510454
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 72
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Facing the Urban Challenge: Reimagining Land Use in America's Distressed Older Cities--The Federal Policy Role
Mallach, Alan
Brookings Institution
The end of World War II heralded an era of urban disinvestment in the United States. While some cities began to rebound in the 1990s with population and economic growth, others--including large cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis as well as many smaller cities and towns--did not, and have continued to decline. As these communities grapple with these issues, the federal government can and should play a supportive role. The Obama Administration has already taken the first steps, reflected in an August 2009 White House memorandum to federal department heads that called for a new focus on place-based strategies. This paper attempts to seize this opportunity. It looks at the challenges facing America's distressed older cities, focusing particularly on the causes and effects of widespread property vacancy and abandonment. It then examines the role and influence of federal policy on these cities over the past half century, and argues for replacing fragmented programs and initiatives with a coherent strategy that addresses their unique issues. Finally, it offers a set of specific recommendations for how the federal government can help distressed older cities reshape their physical landscape such that it becomes an asset for economic growth. Appended are: (1) Population Trends in 21 Major Shrinking Cities 1950-2007; and (2) Actions Needed to Implement Recommendations Supporting Strategic Planning. (Contains 5 tables and 98 endnotes.) [This report is authored by the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program as part of the What Works Collaborative.]
Brookings Institution. 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-797-6000; Fax: 202-797-6004; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Rockefeller Foundation; Surdna Foundation; Ford Foundation
Authoring Institution: Brookings Institution
Identifiers - Location: Michigan; Missouri; Ohio; United States