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.
This work is intended as a way of recognizing the path-breaking efforts of those in St. Louis, Cleveland, Louisville, Atlanta, Flint, and numerous smaller cities that have done so much in overcoming the barriers to building new communities in the wake of disinvestment. It is also designed to make it possible for other communities across the country to gain inspiration from the dreams and hopes of these urban pioneers, and to build upon their legal, structural, and social reforms.
National transportation policy faces a number of urgent imperatives, including mitigation of air pollution and greenhouse gas production, and coping with congestion in the face of constrained capacity to construct and expand roadways. Because of these concerns, research into the interaction of land use and transportation policy has focused on the capacity of alternative land use approaches--including transit villages, New Urbanist development, jobs-housing balance, and compact development in general--to moderate growth in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). These development forms are referred to collectively in this study as "alternative" development.
This Phase II report addresses the connection between transit and streets, recognizing that the design and management of streets and traffic can and does affect the livability of communities. This report presents strategies that are emerging across the United States, where the effective, balanced incorporation of transit into city streets is having a positive impact on livability and quality of life.