Thursday, July 2, 2009

Build on Economic Strengths: Invest in Downtown Revitalization

From the Restoring Prosperity July 2009 Newsletter

The Problem: The forces of urban sprawl can often divert resources away from city centers and cause downtowns to suffer economically. This process not only hurts the immediate downtown, but also the health of the region.

The Solution: Invest in multi-pronged approaches to downtown revitalization, taking advantage of the synergistic benefits of historic preservation, mixed-use development, improved public transportation, and local business development. Take steps to make downtown public spaces attractive and safe.

Case Study

State: New Jersey

Policy: Starting in 1998, Newark's neighborhood planning process generated a revitalization plan for the area, which includes the Lincoln Park and Coast historic neighborhoods, in order to combat its slow decline. That neighborhood plan articulated a vision of an arts and cultural district that would include artist live-work spaces, mixed-use buildings, community programs, historic preservation, a Museum of African American Music, and restoration of Newark Symphony Hall, all using green building techniques. The Lincoln Park/Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) emerged from that process in 2002 as an organization dedicated to implementing the neighborhood plan, and the Newark Municipal Council adopted the plan in 2005. LPCCD is planning to build 300 "green" units, including townhouses and condos, over four years. These will be targeted to a variety of income levels, so that the housing is accessible to current residents as well as new residents interested in green buildings. LPCCD also created the Green-Collar Apprenticeship Program (GreenCAP), which puts local residents to work on LPCCD's construction projects while giving them both traditional union apprenticeships in HVAC, electrical work, and plumbing and specific training in green construction techniques. The first class, with 30 participants, started work in spring 2008.

More info:

1 comment:

  1. The secret to arts-inspired districts is keeping it lively, safe, and inexpensive. It's important that programming be intensive, so that the two neighborhoods begin to be perceived as cool and interesting. Often volunteers tire of programming tasks, and the nonprofit and government sectors need to organize recurring and one-time-only events.