downtown revitalization
Re-envisioning Downtown Redevelopment.
Part of the challenge is seeing the potential of downtowns in new ways, and then devising new strategies -- zoning, redevelopment, planning -- to achieve them. 

Case Examples:

· Providence, Rhode Island: New Urbanists, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) did this in Providence, Rhode Island, where they reconceptualized the future of Downcity, a once-classic American business district that was dilapidated and forlorn.

To facilitate this vision, a new nonprofit community development partnership was created; design charrettes with all the players were held; and other private development projects were coordinated with Downcity's future. The redevelopment project offers an imaginative new paradigm for urban revitalization.

· A Mixture of Residential and Industrial, New York: SoHo has become a model for other downtown revitalizations. In the early 1960's a 10-lane expressway was planned for the industrial area of lower Manhattan, through what is now known as SoHo. The expressway would have made extinct four hundred sixteen buildings, 2000 housing units, and at least 800 commercial and industrial businesses.  Much of neighboring Little Italy and Chinatown would have been wiped out.  In response to the plan, citizens hired an economist and planner, Chester Rapkin, to determine the industrial base of the area. What was found was a wide array of businesses, from furriers to makers of dolls, rags and wheel hubs.  Based on the findings, Jane Jacobs, urban critic and community activist, helped galvanize grassroots support against the expressway and led people to see that the area was still economically alive. At the same time, artists began filling vacant lofts illegally, creating attractive, functional living and working spaces. The arrival of the artists started an entirely new vision of SoHo as both an industrial and residential area.  With the an upswing in the art market in the 70's and 80's SoHo became a healthy urban neighborhood that provided and continues to provide an outlet for innovation, new businesses and new substance to the local economy. SoHo has become an example for other downtown revitalizations in such places as Denver's LoDo, Seattle's SoDo and Pioneer Square, and San Francisco's SoMA.

Bollier, David, How Smart Gorwth Can Stop Sprawl, a briefing guide for funders (Washington, D.C.: Essential Books, 1998).
Gratz, Roberta Brandes with Norman Mintz, Cities Back From the Edge: New Life for Downtown, (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1998).