Growth Issue: Neighborhood Reinvestment
A consistent concern among community members has been how to deal with disinvestment in neighborhoods, particularly in older parts of the city. Signs of concern include empty and aging strip shopping centers, outdated office buildings, and vacant or dilapidated housing.
The causes of disinvestment are many – age being chief among them – but when cities and neighborhoods partner, it can be reversed. Among the proven strategies are:
Develop community partnerships. First and foremost, a challenged neighborhood must make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction. By forming Civic Associations or Business Associations, communities can develop consensus lists of priorities, and can cooperate on projects to address challenges in a coordinated manner.
Eradicate blight. Aged shopping centers and concentrations of dilapidated housing have to be addressed in order to turn a district around. A combination of code enforcement and targeted incentives can lessen the impact of derelict properties and provide some level of encouragement for redevelopment. Often, the extents of a blighted area can make it seem overwhelming. Focus on key properties and locations, and use those to catalyze reinvestment in the surrounding parcels.
Install amenities. An important way to encourage the private sector to invest in a community is to show investment from the community itself. Adding sidewalks, bike lanes, parks and greenways; coordinating beautification efforts; connecting with local schools and small businesses; supporting public arts efforts and neighborhood events – all these can create a “buzz” around a community, and that kind of vibe can attract additional outside investment.
Embrace “placemaking”. Every community, even one that seems to be struggling, has certain characteristics or traits that are unique to it. By developing those, even reinventing them, a city can create neighborhood centers that attract activity and investment. Some local examples include the Village of Providence, Campus 805, and Lowe Mill.
Last modified: April 20th, 2018 at 8:15 am