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Cover of Greening America’s Smaller Legacy Cities

Greening America’s Smaller Legacy Cities

By Joseph Schilling, Catherine Tumber, and Gabi Velasco

Julio 2023, inglés

Preparing the country for a low-carbon future that is economically and racially just is an enormous undertaking. Greening America’s Smaller Legacy Cities investigates how local governments in small and midsize older industrial cities can adopt and implement comprehensive sustainability initiatives. It explores three principal policy areas—climate resilience, environmental justice and equity, and green economic development—and shows how their integrated application can serve as the policy foundation for what American scholars call green regeneration. This synthesis of sustainability initiatives offers local officials; their state and regional partners; and their nonprofit, business, institutional, and philanthropic collaborators a policy framework and roadmap for regenerating small and midsize legacy cities in an equitable, climate-resilient manner.


“This is crucial work. These small cities are often the hubs of large regions, and they can’t be allowed to just molder away. Instead, they have a bright—and bright green—future, if we can come together to help them make the transition!”

—Bill McKibben, Author of End of Nature

“Communities have an unprecedented opportunity to tackle a climate crisis with new federal funding. This report offers practical steps to implement equitable solutions by creating a roadmap to increase capacity and integrate policies. With the stakes so high for ourselves and generations to come, this important resource will help local leaders and activists build a better future for legacy cities.”

—Lisa Wong, former Mayor, Fitchburg, MA

“I cut my teeth in the small legacy city of the South Bronx, and early 21st century concepts in sustainability. This report is a unifying force for people who don’t want to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one. It emphasizes potential value that can be restored or enhanced when we prioritize quality of life.”

—Majora Carter, Author, Real Estate Developer, and Revitalization Strategy Consultant

“Small legacy cities and the communities within them have the lived experience, knowledge, and expertise to create holistic and transformative solutions to the climate crisis. They have been most impacted by the interconnected economic, social, and environmental issues that are causing climate change and other environmental harms. This report frames the opportunity for these cities to serve as leaders and ‘solutionaries’ in the climate movement, while offering tools and resources for creating more equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities.”

—Leah Bamberger, former Director of Sustainability, City of Providence, RI

“This thoughtful and timely report underscores the need to grow capacity to lead the clean energy transition in regional cities so they can navigate a complex resource environment, align efforts across sectors, and accomplish larger shared goals.”

—Benjamin Forman, Research Director, MassINC

“Greening America’s Smaller Legacy Cities arrives at the perfect time to support these cities in preparing to access the tidal wave of federal, state, and philanthropic funds for equitable climate adaptation and green redevelopment. Readers will benefit from the many examples of cities expanding their sustainability capacity through cross-sector partnerships and collaboration with green intermediaries like Groundwork, with experience building community trust and elevating resident involvement. This is essential reading for anyone seeking to capitalize on the opportunity to lay the foundation for the long-term, difficult projects and policy changes necessary to ensure that everyone can live in a community that is healthy, just, green, and resilient.”

—Heather McMann, CEO, Groundwork USA


adaptación, Brownfield, mitigación climática, desarrollo comunitario, fideicomiso de suelo comunitario, recuperación pos-desastre, ecología, desarrollo económico, medio ambiente, planificación ambiental, planicie aluvial, área boscosa, globalización, vivienda, inequidad, infraestructura, dispersion del empleo, regulación del mercado de suelo, reforma agraria, uso de suelo, temas legales, gobierno local, Salud fiscal municipal, recursos naturales, planificación, contaminación, pobreza, políticas públicas, servicios públicos, regionalismo, resiliencia, reutilización de suelo urbano, segregación, crecimiento inteligente, desajuste espacial, suburbano, desarrollo sostenible, desarrollo orientado a transporte, transporte, urbano, diseño urbano, desarrollo urbano, regeneración urbana, universidades urbanas, urbanismo, agua, zonificación