Thursday, June 27, 2013

THE LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROCESS FOR REDUCING URBAN POVERTY

1.1 Introduction
The issues of local economic development (LED) and urban poverty are intricate and dynamic. In the past eight publications of the Local Economic and Urban Poverty series, discussions have encompass several issues of theory and practice related to these concepts. Discussions have been informed mainly by literature drawing on key issues of strategy and critical issues affecting urban planning processes that focus on LED and urban poverty. All these previous discussions have also concentrated on the substantive issues with less emphasis on the process of LED and urban poverty management. In all, critical questions for decision making as well as implications for planning and policy have been articulated. For several weeks, the issues have spanned case studies of LED and urban development in both developed and developing countries, financing local, mega projects, micro and macro LED strategies, tourism development, historic preservation,  gentrification, among others. 

In this paper, and the last in the series, attention is focused on the procedural issues of LED. Three main approaches are considered. However, two have been compared to a suggested approach advocated by Blakely and Leigh (2010). To do this comparison, two local economic development plans have been examined with reference to Blakely and Leigh (2010) framework for preparing a local economic development plan. According to Blakely and Leigh (2010), there are six phases in the local economic development process; namely data gathering and analysis, selecting a LED strategy, selecting LED projects, building action plans, specifying project details, overall development plan preparation and implementation. Subsequently, the various expectations articulated by the authors have been used as indicative reference points in comparing these plans. The first plan reviewed is the LED Plan for the City of St. Michael in Alaska and this is aimed to guide LED interventions from 2011 to 2015. The second is the LED for the Municipality of Shkodra. This plan spans between 2005 and 2015.

Monday, June 3, 2013

HISTORIC PRESERVATION, GENTRIFICATION, AND PUBLIC SPACE


1.1 Introduction
What is the relationship between historic preservation, gentrification and the public place? The knowledge on these three subject matters provides critical implications for actions to rejuvenate the inner city. Recent trends reveal decay in some inner cities and Detroit quickly comes to mind. Yet in the attempt to rejuvenate such decays, some complexities and challenges emerge. 

It seems that cities in America at some point in their evolution experiences prosperity and at some time decay. Chicago offers a critical example in this perspective. This thus provides a gleam of hope that through appropriate interventions by urban planners these challenges can be mitigated. The increase in sub-urbanization and the movement of businesses and firms to the periphery of metropolitan areas or cities have left the inner city in these declining states. Middle income workers and the affluent members of society have moved to enjoy the peace and serenity of the outer area of cities leaving behind dwindling and deteriorating city downtowns. In addition, privacy and the availability of services that support family life are key examples of the factors that have influenced these movements.

To rejuvenate inner cities, several economic development strategies are initiated to improve the wellbeing and wealth of the city with the aim of attracting people and businesses. Construction of convention centers, sports facilities, shopping enclaves, hotels, restaurants and broader strategies of tourism development have been put in place to achieve these purposes (these have been discussed in earlier papers). Unfortunately, economic development interventions in the form of “urban regeneration, downtown revitalization, gentrification of inner-city neighborhoods, and the redevelopment of obsolete industrial sites all serve inherently the same purposes under various disguises: turning places into commodities” (Erendil and Ulusoy, 2002). 

These actions come with consequences both negative and positive. In this paper, I turn my attention to another economic development strategy which has gained prominence in urban planning constellations; historic preservation. I discuss the critical subject of historic preservation and gentrification of the public space in cities. Similar to previous papers, the discussions have been made using literary materials that touch on the themes in question. Specifically, this paper examines the effects of urban space in relation to historic preservation, the issue of gentrification, and the role of governments in gentrification. In conclusion, I draw lessons for policy and urban planning decisions.