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Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders
The American Assembly

Chris Geovanis
MK Communications




Addressing America's Ailing Cities
New Book Offers “Legacy Cities” Best Advice from Nation’s Leading Urbanists.

Born out of a major conference in Detroit – now the nation’s symbol for cities that defined the nation’s 20th century economy but find themselves in search of a new identity – a new book, Rebuilding America’s Legacy Cities: New Directions for the Industrial Heartland, explores strategies for retooling, reimagining and re-building these cities. Published by the Columbia University-based American Assembly, the book from America’s most notable urbanists is a blueprint for cities, towns and neighborhoods seeking to recast their futures in the changed world economy and adopt policies that encourage the adaptive repurposing of land to make their cities competitive.
The book was formally launched on January 26th at The Brookings Institution. Three project co-chairs and co-sponsors – former Mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs Henry Cisneros,  former Columbus Ohio Mayor Gregory Lashutka, and Dan Kildee, former Genesee County Treasurer and current President of the Center for Community Progress – joined Legacy Cities Project Director Paul Brophy; Hunter Morrison of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium; Lavea  Brachman of the Greater Ohio Policy Center and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Alan Mallach, the book’s editor and Brookings Nonresident Senior fellow.
“Few cities and towns in the United States have escaped the shrinking revenues, high unemployment and dwindling private investment that characterize today’s economy, with ‘legacy cities’ hit hardest,” says Secretary Cisneros. “That dynamic can and must be reversed – nothing less than the very vitality of our nation is at stake.”
For decades, dozens of legacy cities in America’s industrial heartland have been seeking practical ways to transition from their historic role as the manufacturing centers of the industrial revolution and the post-war period to a 21st century increasingly defined by the information economy and growing interest in developing new green technologies. There is – and must be – a way forward, argue experts.
“Governments need to retool the way we manage the land that forms the backbone of our communities,” says Kildee. “We have enormous opportunities to rebuild our cities into vibrant, ecologically sustainable economic and cultural hubs, but we need to reset the way we manage abandoned and vacant land in a way that supports local residents.”
The book cites a host of practical steps cities can take to change the ways they address economic stagnation and shrinking populations, as well as tangible gains for cities already experimenting with these strategies – from creating more healthy neighborhoods in Youngstown, Ohio to crafting new recovery strategies in European cities like Turin and Bremen.
The full text of the book can be downloaded chapter by chapter from this link: http://tinyurl.com/88ammhl. Review copies are also available through Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders of the American Assembly; she can be contacted at 212-870-3500 or by email at asl2117@columbia.edu. Copies can be purchased at Amazon.com