The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy recently published a new report “Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities” by Alan Mallach and Lavea Brachman available for download as a PDF here. Find more information on their website or read on for an excerpt of the abstract:

This policy focus report explores the challenges of regenerating America’s legacy cities—older industrial cities that have experienced sustained job and population loss over the past few decades. It identifies the powerful obstacles that stand in the way of fundamental change in the dynamics of these cities, and suggests directions by which cities can overcome those obstacles and embark on the path of regeneration.

While almost all of the nation’s older industrial cities declined through the 1980s, the picture has changed in more recent decades. The report examines 18 representative cities to explore how their trajectories have changed, with some showing signs of revival while others continued to decline. These 18 cities were selected from a universe of approximately 50 legacy cities, which met two primary criteria: population of at least 50,000 in 2010; and loss of at least 20 percent from the city’s peak population. The cities represent geographic diversity, including New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southern, and Midwestern cities, as well as variation in their level of recovery or regeneration.

Alan Mallach and Lavea Brachman lay the groundwork by exploring the challenges these cities face and reviewing the economic, social, market, physical, and operational factors that have led to their present condition. The relative health or vitality of each of these cities was tracked with 15 separate indicators to measure population change, socioeconomic condition, housing markets, and economic activity. Some appear highly successful, at least in relative terms; others are clearly unsuccessful; and others fall in between.