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Redevelopment agencies

I work for a city planning office in Rhode Island which has just established a redevelopment agency under Title 35 of Rhode Island Statute. We are currently at the research stage and are looking to learn more about the specific tools and methods of redevelopment. We are looking for any useful literature or case studies that address such issues as the following.

-Homeowner Relocation Strategies (There are a few blocks of residences near the redevelopment project area that will be severely affected by construction over the next four years. This use is incompatible with current zoning [Industrial] and proposed uses for the redevelopment area)

-Funding Sources (i.e. Tax Increment Financing)

-By what standards do you appraise property?

-How to approach environmental issues (there is a large pond in the redevelopment project area)

David Danenfelzer

This sounds like a very interesting and likely troublesome project. I won't go on about all the problems that large scale redevelopment projects often have, but will mention that you should certainly be prepared to fight some good court battles along the way.

With that said, I would like to recommend a few titles,

Inside Game/Outside Game: Winning Strategies for Saving Urban America, David Rusk

Better NOT Bigger: How to Take Control of Urban Growth and Improve Your Community, Eben Fodor

Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown, Roberta Brandes Gratz, & Norman Mintz

Restoring at-Risk Communities: Doing It Together and Doing It Right, John M. Perkins

These are just a few and my current favorite is Cities Back from the Edge.

You can also look to organizations like The Enterprise Foundation, and LISC to offer support in what your working on. They both have a good background in capacity building and technical assistance to local nonprofits and local governments on these types of projects, especially housing.

Well, best wishes and I hope your community finds a good plan. Remember this one point of advice though. There is a world of difference in project planning and, what some people call, urban husbandry. Project planning involves large scale change and more often than not waste time, hurts people and destroys community. Urban husbandry on the other hand can accentuate hidden strengths, help people, and build community where we often don't think it exists.

Good Luck,



Big projects always scare me. People often think of them as 'the answer' and forget that a lot more has to happen outside of the project to make it work. Still, a few of the resources I have found to be helpful or intriguing:

Public Markets and Community Revitalization, Project for Public Spaces

Rise of the Entrepreneurial State, Eisner

Good Neighbors: Affordable Family Housing, Jones, Pettus, Pyatok

Building Livable Communities: A Policymaker's Guide to Infill Development, Center for Livable Communities

Business and Industrial Park Development Handbook, Urban Land Institute

Mixed-use Development Handbook, Urban Land Institute

Professional Real Estate Development, Urban Land Institute

There are many more, but these and the references they provide are a good start. Some organizations to look at include the Urban Land Institute, www.uli.org, HUD and the International Economic Development Council (formerly CUED and AEDC).

I'd encourage you to make the area pedestrian and transit-friendly, and view the wetland as an asset. Wetlands and natural spaces have become an integral part, and a selling point of the business park I have been developing, as they provide an aesthetic enhancement and a nearby recreational opportunity for workers.