The Fragility of Growth in a Post-Industrial City Jeremy Nowak After decades of decline, there are bright spots for several of America’s older industrial cities in the Northeast and Midwest. The 2010 Census and subsequent data from the American Community Survey demonstrate a tapering of population loss, and in a few instances, a slight population recovery for perennial population losers (W. Frey 2013). Recent urban population recovery should be tempered by the fact that cities continue to be major sites of concentrated poverty (Kneebone, Nadeau, and Berube 2011).
Over the years I have published articles and book chapters on a very wide array of subjects including development finance, housing policy, and creativity. My latest publication was on community development financial institutions, which I authored for the Opportunity Finance Network.
This paper has four parts. The first section discusses three social and economic trends that influence poverty alleviation policies and strategies. The second section argues that as a result of these trends, we need new kinds of civic institutions that can maximize the connections between regional economic growth and low-income households.
The term creative placemaking has been used in cultural affairs, planning, public policy, and philanthropy during the past several years. It is not a common term although it is becoming more widely used. It refers to the use of art and cultural projects as organizing perspectives through which the restoration and reanimation of communities can be planned and implemented. Above all, a creative place engages people in ways that lead to the social and economic re-positioning of a community.
Slow job growth, declining home values, a diminishing tax base, and concentrated poverty are but a few of the growing obstacles for well-established but struggling cities. Challenged by decades of globalization, technological change, and dramatic demographic shifts away from the urban core, these former industrial powerhouses, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest, have been eclipsed by burgeoning American cities with a viable niche in the new economy.
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