Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The power of "small-scale fixes" and "lightweight, self-determined urban renewal projects."

David Thrasher's garage door art, Bergman Building, alley side.

There are 1,001 examples around the world of "lightweight, self-determined urban renewal projects," that when taken together, combine to create larger success stories.

Capital-intensive construction projects, subsidized and charged to the TIF-One Card, and as undertaken in the hope of trickle-down, come to us from the top of the power structure, and at the top, smaller rivulets in need of even modest support are missed in the glare of vanity.

Top-down's great for re-election campaigns and political financing, but shouldn't the aim be to accomplish something?

A Case Study in Reviving a Dying Downtown: Marcus Westbury’s new book, Creating Cities, describes the small-scale fixes that helped Newcastle, Australia, by Sarah Goodyear (City Lab)

... Westbury acknowledges Renew Newcastle’s critics, who charge that the approach encourages gentrification, that it hasn’t produced change fast enough, that the successes are too small and the failures too many. But he argues that the initiative has transformed the way that Newcastle sees itself as well as the way outsiders see it, making it a model for similar cities around Australia and beyond. It is part of an international movement toward lightweight, self-determined urban renewal projects that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

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