With downtowns reviving, the next challenge for cities will be to turn around declining neighborhoods. The playbook hasn’t been written yet, but we know who will be its authors: the residents.
By design or by chance, cities are headed somewhere. But where? And if there’s a vision for your city, how do you know if it can succeed? The answer lies in demographics.
Forget about the NIMBYs vs. greedy developers showdowns. The real stories in local government are about efforts to create more interesting and attractive urban environments, and the people involved in these efforts. Some are elected officials or city workers, but many aren’t. They’re people in neighborhoods doing things that are slightly unusual, such as walking, biking, or taking buses to work . . . or restoring old homes.
Change usually creates resistance, and big changes create big resistance. So how can you lower the fear level for your civic project? Start by shrinking the change down to a single slice, offered in the right place and managed in the right way.
There’s another book that defied conventional wisdom about cities and expanded the possibilities of community development. And this one wasn’t written by Jane Jacobs.