After decades of slow decline, cities are rebounding, and one key to bringing urban areas back to life is revitalizing business districts. There are different approaches to doing that, a lot of challenges, and not really a lot of “how-to” books. This report draws on the existing literature on the revitalization of inner-city business districts to examine alternativeapproaches — including the popular Main Street strategy — and identify best practices. Because there is limited literature that focuses exclusively on inner-city business districts, the report draws selectively from a more extensive base of research that encompasses inner-city revitalization, neighborhood economic development, and downtown development. Several forces are commonly cited as contributing to the decline of American inner-city business districts: demographic shifts that left poor people behind in cities while many people moved to the suburbs; federal policies that favored suburban over central-city investment; state and local zoning and tax policies that contributed to business flight to the suburbs; and mortgage policies that were explicitly biased toward suburban properties. Successful revitalization approaches need to capitalize on the opportunities presented by inner-city neighborhoods while addressing long-standing obstacles to their rebirth. Despite the long period of population loss and disinvestment, urban neighborhoods have assets and positive trends that can fuel revitalization. Many of the positives simply went unrecognized for years. Michael Porter’s often-cited 1995 article, “The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City,” identified four key competitive advantages forerunner cities: 1) strategic location near the city centre, transportation, and entertainment plus tourist centers; 2) local market demand reflected in high density that compensates for lower incomes, and specialized urban ethnic market niches; 3) integration with regional clusters (defined as collections of related companies) that create business opportunities; plus 4) a moderate-wage workforce.
Curiously, asylum figures are the highest ever, and the voting age is being
mooted as being lowered to sixteen by the Government. That is obviously just a
massive coincidence, and in no way reflects Tony, who loves us all, when he
originally said on coming to power he would change the face of politics in
Britain for ever. One is confused whether this alludes to the crushing and
abandonment given centuries of tradition and of traditional posts, such as the Lord
Chancellor, and House of Lords, or whether it is to do with the asylum vote, or
the extra young vote, or the abdication of power in deference to Brussels, or
the omission of boxes on forms stating English, Irish, Scots or Welsh. Perhaps it
has to do with the proposed proportional representation, maybe the invention of
a President reporting directly to the public via the media press conference. Who
knows, it is all very confusing, however one thing is crystal clear, the Labour
party actually own the Rugby team that won the world cup, you know, the one
without a box on forms we fill in, and who reportedly sing carols in private,
though this has yet to be substantiated.

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