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Urban Revitalization Continues Amid Recession

These days good news can be hard to come by, which is why Kaid Benfield’s most recent post on NRDC Switchboard caught our eye. It’s about the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis, and how revitalization efforts there have taken off:

3419058130_159bf6ab82.jpgA former kindergarten in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis that’s being renovated for housing. Photo by Michael Allen.

As
I wrote last year, [the neighborhood] is being brought back in a
thoughtful, inclusive, diverse, grassrootsy sort of way, but with some
terrific organizational support from the Old North Restoration Group and financial investment from the Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance, among a bevy of supporters.

My
own view is that no other single category of activity is more important
to sustainable development than revitalization.  When done properly,
it’s great for residents old and new, great for cities, and great for
the environment.

The Restoration Group posted a bunch of updates and links on its blog a few days ago.  It’s terrific to learn that the Crown Square project is continuing, for example, along with many neighborhood rehabs, despite the recession.

Over at Gristmill, Kate Sheppard writes about how an even more devastated municipality — the steel town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, immortalized back in the late 1980s in the film Lightning over Braddock — is now the focus of a new ad campaign for green jobs. The campaign, called The Cap Solution,
brings together the Environmental Defense Action Fund, the United
Steelworkers and the Blue Green Alliance to promote carbon cap
legislation as a solution to unemployment and municipal decline in
America’s Rust Belt.

Anyone out there have other examples
of blighted urban (or suburban) areas that are seeking new avenues to
revitalization? Any success stories?