In recent decades, some cities have seen their urban centers lose population density, as residents spread farther out to suburbs and exurbs. Others have kept populous downtowns even as their environs have grown. Population density in general has economic advantages, so one might wonder whether a loss of density, which may be a symptom of negative economic shocks, could amplify those shocks. This paper looks at four decades of census data and show that growing cities have maintained dense urban centers, while shrinking cities have not. There are reasons to think that loss of population density at the core of the city could be particularly damaging to productivity. If this is the case, there could be productivity gains from policies aimed at reversing that trend.
Public Markets are key elements to urban revitalization. The number of markets in the U.S. has increased from roughly 1,500 markets in 1994 to over 3,500 in 2004. Markets can improve districts in the following ways: act as a small business incubator, spur economic development around the market, connect local producers to consumers, provide vital social services to low-income citizens, provide access to healthy foods, offer affordable housing, and create a sense of place in the community. In order to achieve success, markets develop community partnerships that focus on different areas of improvement, such as historic preservation, retail development, a link between food producers and consumers, social services, and affordable housing. They then structure their leadership in such a way that is responsive to that area of improvement. The most successful markets establish a variety of community partnerships that focus on a range of improvements and community needs.