Revitalizing Older Cities
Some urban and metropolitan areas throughout the Northeast and Midwest have enjoyed stable population growth and rich economic prosperity throughout recent history. However, many of the region's historic cities - critical centers of industry, transportation, and American ingenuity - are suffering from dramatic reductions in population, traditional employment opportunities, and economic investment.
The Northeast-Midwest Institute began its Revitalizing Older Cities Initiative in 2007. The Initiative draws strategically on long-standing Institute policy expertise in brownfields, urban food availability and nutrition, energy efficiency and affordability, manufacturing revitalization, environmental restoration, transportation and infrastructure, housing, livable communities, and economic development.
The Revitalizing Older Cities Initiative is a locus of research on demographic and other changes in older cities, successful initiatives taking place in NEMW older cities to tackle persistent, shared problems, and relevant upcoming legislation.
Recent and current projects:
Institute staff produced reports on the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Transportation. The reports cover the Partnership’s history, grant programs, and Northeast-Midwest grantees.
Transportation & Climate
Institute staff produced a report on The Transportation Climate Initiative, which is a new collaboration of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia to achieve shared energy, transportation, and climate goals. This report provides essential background on TCI’s goals, structure, and activities to help inform those policy decisions.
Efficient Energy Generation
Institute staff and partners worked on two projects that focus on efficient energy generation. One project focused on coupling combined heat and power facilities with brownfields redevelopment in the region. The other resulted in a report and a Note to the Coalitions on the opportunities that district energy/combined heat and power systems can afford older industrial cities and the policy context surrounding their development.
Institute staff produced a brief on two leading threats to children’s health, both of which can be exacerbated by environmental conditions in older industrial cities. Specifically, the brief describes the prevalence of asthma and lead poisoning among children in NEMW states, compares rates in NEMW states to those in other states and the nation, explains connections between cities and these health threats, and details Congressional action to address these problems.
Support for the Institute’s Urban Revitalization work is generally project-specific. Past funds have been provided by the Great Lakes Protection Fund, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.