How Resources Are Organized

The toolkit is organized around the eight strategies for small legacy city revitalization identified in the report Revitalizing America’s Smaller Legacy Cities.  Within each strategy, resources are broken down into three types:

Tools: Guides for implementation, including how-to guides, checklists, etc.

Programs: Replicable initiatives, typically illustrated with examples.

Background information: Resources, including white papers and websites, which further explain the strategy, programs, or tools.

The toolkit summarizes each of these resources, and if applicable, links to an organization or source that can provide more information.

Where to Start

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Revitalizing and transforming smaller legacy cities is no small task – it is one that will take years of persistent, coordinated effort from leaders in government, business, grassroots organizations, nonprofits, philanthropy, and anchor institutions.

Research on smaller legacy city revitalization has shown that many communities need to focus on the basics – making sure that they have a widely shared vision for what the future will look like and sufficient capacity to carry out that vision. To succeed in executing revitalization strategies, communities must have willing leaders in place across different sectors and mechanisms for coordinating that leadership.

With that in mind, we suggest that users of this toolkit make sure that they have a strong grasp on the two baseline strategies –  strengthen civic capacity and encourage a shared vision – before moving on to the others.

Once those two baseline strategies are well developed, communities will have a good sense of which of the other strategies are most important for them to tackle next.

Case Studies

Understanding how smaller legacy city revitalization strategies have played out in the real world can be helpful in determining how to implement them in your own community. This toolkit features two in-depth case studies that illustrate how two real smaller legacy cities – Lancaster, Pennsylvania and South Bend, Indiana – have leveraged the eight strategies with success.