Why Legacy Cities?

Building an Equitable Renaissance: The Legacy Cities Initiative supports civic leaders, policymakers, and others working to build more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous legacy cities.

About Legacy Cities

Legacy cities have been at the center of some of America’s most historic achievements, and they have endured some of its most difficult challenges. Once drivers of industry and wealth, legacy cities experienced decline in the 20th and 21st centuries due to changing industries and government policies that steered investments away from communities of color. 

Through times of prosperity and decline, these cities have developed a culture of innovation and grit and charted paths to regeneration—but their resilience is once again being tested by crisis. Like the rest of the nation, these cities are actively learning what it means to confront racist systems that drive deep inequities in public health, safety, and access to opportunity. 

Home to nearly 17 million people and a collective economy of $430 billion, these cities still possess the infrastructure and institutions that can launch an equitable revival. 

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