Revitalizing Distressed Older Suburbs

Revitalizing Distressed Older Suburbs

While poverty, unemployment, foreclosure, underfunded and/or failing schools, and inadequate public services have long been considered "inner-city problems," they also affect millions of Americans living in distressed suburbs, a new report from the What Works Collective, a foundation-sponsored research collaborative, finds. Based on a literature review and in-depth case studies of four of the most distressed predominantly non-white industrial suburbs, Revitalizing Distressed Older Suburbs (189 pages, PDF) examines the critical roles played by housing and development authorities, state programs and investments, anchor institutions, public-private partnerships, and cross-sector and regional collaborations in successful revitalization efforts. Funded by the Annie E. Casey, Ford, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, Kresge, Rockefeller, and Surdna foundations, the report offers a number of recommendations, including a greater focus on regional service delivery, annexation, and restructuring, as well as allowing cities greater flexibility to use federal funds to meet urgent needs and invest in economic development projects.