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Suburban revitalization?


The local economy of our city is still strong, land values still high, and housing is okay but aging...

However, we'd like to develop a program to encourage replacement or improvement of existing housing stock, and to encourage the growth of new businesses and retention/success of existing businesses in our suburban community. Within the next twenty years, any new growth will have to come in the form of infill or redevelopment projects. We want to be ready with that product while our city is still in demand.

Are there any suburbs that have developed solid redevelopment programs to pre-empt the spread of blight? I'm looking for examples of such programs, but most redevelopment articles I see are targeted towards inner cities rather than marketable suburban communities who are merely running out of land for new growth.


I hope this is similar to what your looking for...

Markham Centre

The city's build-out plan for Markham Centre

Size (Land Area) 988 acres
Population 25,000 residents
Residences 10,000 units (condominiums and townhouses)
Employment 17,000 jobs
Office Space 400,000 m2
Retail Space 55,000 m2
Schools 3 elementary, 1 secondary
Parkland 75 acres
Open Space 192 acres

Developers have jumped in to help realize the goal.



You may want to become involved with your state's economic development organization, or the International Economic Development Council (web site). There is quite a bit of similar work going on around the country. If you do not have an economic developer at your city, I would suggest you consider hiring one. In many ways, it is quite a bit different than planning.


Dear Leader
Staff member
A quickie response ... check out Fist Suburbs in Cleveland, an "advocacy organization in the country working to revitalize mature, developed communities, and raise public and political awareness of the problems and inequities associated with urban sprawl and urban disinvestment."

First suburbs are generally suburbs that were built, or mostly built, adjacent to or near central cities before 1960. In the Midwest, suburban development began around 1900 and progressed slowly until halted by the Great Depression and World War II. In the 25 years following the War, suburban growth accelerated dramatically. Those "first" suburbs now are 40 to 80 years old, and with age many have begun to experience what had been exclusively central city challenges: deteriorating and obsolete real estate, problematic sewer and water systems, disinvestment, and residents with modest or low incomes.

Officials of these suburbs have recognized that public policy as it affects investment in real estate does little for them. New, outer suburban suburbs are promoted as growth and progress, drawing higher-income residents and businesses away from first suburbs, which are left to cope with their situation as best they can. Individually, first suburbs can do little to change the imbalance of public policy and practice. Collectively, however, their chances improve. Thus the formation of the First Suburbs Consortium.

My grad school thesis topic was addressing decline in older suburban areas, so I can go on about this for hours.