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Monday
Oct082012

INVESTMENT READY PLACES

 

 For the complete IRP web page, clicke HERE

The small towns and cities of America are once again becoming the new frontier for development.
Having languished for decades with the decline of the manufacturing economy, these communities lost population, jobs, and capital. However, today an intersection of three overarching phenomenon presents a unique opportunity to reconsider these communities as places worth our time and investment:

The Great Migration: Americans, young and old are gravitating towards communities that are mixed use, walkable, diverse and transit served. This puts an extraordinary burden on our Gateway Cities that currently exhibit such characteristics. At the same time, Suburban Settlements are ill equipped to provide such amenities to residents in the near future. 

A Systemic Failure: The Great Recession clearly exposed the shortcomings of our financial, civic and infrastructure models along with their decision making processes. A recalibration is in order. Gateway Cities, due to their sheer size, make such restructuring difficult, while the isolationist frameworks of Suburban Settlements lack the interconnectedness of systems and concentration of critical mass required to generate resilient prototypes. 

A Widening Rift: Across the country, we see an increasing gap based on income and wealth. The American Dream is predicated on a strong middle class, and yet it is rapidly shrinking today. Gateway Cities are self-segregating themselves into homogenous pockets in terms of income, race and ethnicity, with the middle class being pushed outward. Suburban Settlements on the other hand are incapable of supporting diversity and encouraging upward mobility, the impetus for growth for middle class. 

 

We assert that mid-tier towns and cities provide us with the right opportunities to build on our past while accommodating these societal changes positively. They present us with Investment Ready Places (IRP’s), whose resilient chassis in fact, benefit from change and deliver a stronger framework to future generations for realizing their dreams.

We outline a set of characteristics inherent to IRP’s that allow us to fulfill our basic human needs and achieve our creative potential as individuals and community. Organized under six categories, these characteristics double as a diagnostic tool to determine places where we should invest at a time when investment is at a premium.

We recommend strategies that can maximize the development potential for IRPs. These strategies build upon the resilient DNA of IRP’s and help identify short and long term actions that communities can undertake to maximize returns on their investments.

We provide you, the reader with a tool kit to help navigate this “new” terrain and undertake projects in your local IRP’s.

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Reader Comments (4)

Let me see if I've got this right: Investment Ready Places(IRPs) contain an inventory of pre-war [which one] urban fabric [I love that term though I don't know what it means] that is either forgotten or missed by post-war inner-city projects such as public housing and freeways, though freeways may prove beneficial. Not so public housing? Again, the work force in an IRP is not staggeringly large or regulated, making them more flexible to recalibrate as needed.
So, two prerequisites are no black people and no unions. That's how I read it. Good luck.

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Hi Street Sense,

WHOO-HOO! Loved it. Just finished reading "Investment Ready Places" and am quite excited. I think your piece articulates some the same themes I wrote about back in January re: the business and environmental opportunities present in micropolitans (as I define them, here, in the "Micropolitan Manifesto": http://bit.ly/zcZf9T )

I think people are rethinking what's possible -- & where -- and smaller urban centers hold a key. I look forward to continuing the conversation with you.

P.S. I am blogging about my experience moving from NYC to a small town and opening an independent business (a neighborhood grocery/cafe/beer garden) at the link above.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie McCaskey

I have to admit that much of this describes what I hope to be true. For that reason I'm maintaining a sort of guarded optimism as far as small cities and towns seeing substantial private sector investment. I worry about the perils of confirmation bias and motivated reasoning. On the other hand James Howard Kunstler has expressed similar sentiments about smaller cities on his blog and on the kunstlercast with some frequency. Here's hoping (and working) for a true renaissance of America's forgotten small cities.

Rationalurbanism.com and its contents are not so much "my response" to the idea of IRPs as it is an anticipation of it.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Shultis

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