Legacy Cities as Resilient Cities

A new report by the National League of Cities suggests that Michigan’s Legacy’s cities, impacted by economic decline, physical deterioration, population and job loss, may be rising to the challenge and showing resilience based on the responses of local actors.

Building on two previous foreclosure resiliency studies (from 2010 and 2011), the current study sought to identify foundational principles essential to (location action) resiliency. In using several Michigan cities as case studies, the report identifies three principle themes of 1) community inclusion and engagement, 2) leadership and local capacity, and 3) cross-cutting partnerships.

NLC’s latest report offers more hope to the suggestion these “legacy” cities are making a vital transition from their historic industrial roles. Certainly place-based strategies and livability principles would benefit efforts taken by local officials and policy makers. However, few places have been as hard hit as these (Michigan) communities, and without an understanding of the systemic community issues, relevant history, and how to develop successful community engagement in distressed cities, it’s very easy to oversimplify a very multifarious environment.

Read more about the report here: Resilient Cities in a Transforming State: A Snapshot of Local Action in Michigan (2012)

Also, if you are interested in reading more about community engagement in Flint (MI) be sure to read our Cities in Transition Practitioner Interview from Christina Kelly.