Many legacy cities have developed policies, programs, and initiatives that are—or should be—national models for inclusive and sustainable revitalization. While this list is far from exhaustive, the initiatives profiled here reflect some of the best efforts local communities are using to bring about change with limited resources. None are silver bullets, but each contribute to the systems change required to achieve meaningful impact.

Initiative Profiles

Pittsburgh, PA

Establishing and maintaining affordable manufacturing space for growing small business in one of Pittsburgh’s most distressed communities

Buffalo, NY

Elimination of off-street parking minimums to promote citywide development, density, and the use of alternative transportation modes

St. Louis, MO

Measuring racial disparities across 72 indicators to inform data-driven policy making in the City of St. Louis

Gary, IN

An urban revitalization initiative that uses a real-time parcel-level survey and mapping platform to guide its strategic demolition and neighborhood stabilization efforts

Akron, OH

Promoting economic and urban development in neighborhood business districts through comprehensive corridor planning, incentive programs, and public management reforms

Yonkers, NY

A program that offers paid summer employment and training in environmental conservation to local young residents—primarily low-income youth of color

Cleveland, OH

A technical assistance and low-interest financing program that helps homeowners improve and maintain the physical and economic value of older homes

Rochester, NY

Promotional and branding program to strengthen the housing market in the Triangle neighborhood of North Winton Village, a target middle neighborhood in Rochester

Philadelphia, PA

Pairing basic landscaping and site improvements with maintenance services for the creation of public open spaces on otherwise vacant lots


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