Older industrial cities today face complex challenges. The foreclosure crisis and its consequences have compounded longtime problems on older industrial cities cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Youngstown, Rochester, leaving them with struggling downtowns and commercial corridors, a glut of abandoned houses, and many associated problems.
This report examines how cities are developing responses to this situation, with an emphasis on rightsizing: the process of reshaping physical urban fabric to meet the needs of current and anticipated populations. The report provides the results of a survey about the problems associated with long-term population loss, municipalities’ responses and use of federal resources, and the current and potential place of historic preservation in those efforts. The report was developed for the Right Sizing and Historic Preservation Task Force (RSTF) of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which seeks creative ways to use preservation and related tools in stabilizing and revitalizing challenged communities.