Check out these before and after pictures of St. Louis’ Crown Square, provided by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The
The once dilapidated commercial plaza has been restored as part of a larger neighborhood revitalization strategy led by the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, and it’s attracting national attention. The NRDC has compared the neighborhood to Cincinnati’s Over The Rhine.
For more than two years, this revitalization effort has centered around an eight-block area in city’s Old North neighborhood.
“The new Crown Square will be mixed-use and walkable, containing apartments as well as commercial spaces, some sensitive new additions to the historic building fabric, creative spaces and, not insignificantly, the offices of the Restoration Group itself,” according to NRDC.
The landmarks Association of St. Louis this year named the area a “most enhanced place.” Below, you can see why.
The Natural Resources Defense Council calls urban revitalization projects like this one “the ultimate anti-sprawl.”
“It is a way to capture development and growth without expanding the footprint of our suburbs and consuming farmland, creating longer driving distances, spreading pavement across previously undeveloped watersheds, and more,” NRDC blogger Kaid Benfield writes. ” In addition, revitalization conserves resources that would otherwise go for new infrastructure and buildings.”
USA Today is carrying an article about Declaration Detroit, an online campaign by a group of activists to revitalize the city.
The group has published a manifesto based on 12 principles, in graphic form below:
The group is asking visitors to sign a pledge to support these policies and get involved by helping spread the word. About 2,100 people have signed, according to USA Today.
Cleveland’s Community Partnership for Arts and Culture is hosting its second From Rust Belt to Artist Belt Conference this weekend in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.
The conference will convene the region’s top community development and arts advocacy officials to discuss the process of harnessing the creative talent of artists to revitalize distressed neighborhoods.
On the speakers list will be Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams,Terry Schwartz, from Kent State’s Urban Design Collaborative, and Matthew Galluzzo, Arts District Manager of the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative.
The keynote speech will feature Ralf Ebert, Director of STADTart and Culture and Planning Consultant for the City of Dortmund, Germany.
The conference is part of CPAC’s Creative Compass initiative, launched in 2007 to increase artists’ access to affordable home and work space.
Monday, Sept. 14, is the last day to register for the conference online.
And stay tuned because I will be reporting from the conference at the end of the week.
This Monthly Review story tells about the post-industrial devastation in Braddock, PA, and describes the efforts of its unconventional mayor at revitalization. Mayor John Fetterman is a Harvard Graduate who looks like a professional wrestler. He’s taken up the task of trying to revitalize this city of 3,000 outside Pittsburgh, which has lost 90 percent of its population since it was imagined as a neighborhood for employees of Edgar Thompson Steel Works in the late 1800s. Mayor Fetterman is working to establish artists’ spaces and urban gardens.
(Full disclosure: I’m friends with the author.)