Development can do great things for a city—as long as neighborhoods can keep their communities and their culture intact.
Local Leaders Policy Forum
How does a community pursue smart growth in underserved neighborhoods where infrastructure problems, concentration of poverty and concerns about gentrification and displacement abound? Two-dozen leaders from diverse communities discussed this very question during the Local Leaders Policy Forum, held on June 16th in Washington, D.C.
Mayor Jacqueline Goodall of Forest Heights, MD shared her experience from living in several different cities over the years. “Gentrification and displacement are real, not perceived, concerns,” said Goodall. “Lower income and minority families can be very vulnerable to neighborhood changes that drive up costs even moderately. As leaders, we cannot overlook that threat.”
Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS, Peg Meortl, PNC Bank’s Senior Vice President for Community Development Banking, Don Edwards, CEO of Justice and Sustainability Associates, and Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, OK discuss revitalization during the Local Leaders Policy Forum opening plenary.
Most American communities are actively seeking the benefits of local revitalization. But, how is revitalization measured and how can communities achieve the most lasting outcomes? This was the central question in the opening plenary session at Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Policy Forum held in Washington, D.C. on June 16th, 2014.
Job creation, attracting new businesses and supporting local entrepreneurs are undoubtedly critical goals of revitalization. However, communities are also concerned about making progress in other critical areas like health, social equity and sustainability. Leaders and experts offered diverse perspectives on the diverse roles of revitalization and innovative approaches that can maximize results that strengthen communities.
More than 70 mayors, councilmembers, commissioners, agency directors and other local officials from around the country gathered in Washington, DC on Sunday, June 15 for the opening reception of the Local Leaders Policy Forum, a conference for local elected and appointed leaders using smart growth strategies to revitalize communities. The Policy Forum is the first national convening of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council.
The opening reception provided an opportunity for members of the Local Leaders Council to meet with each other and Smart Growth America staff to begin to discuss their strategies for redeveloping downtowns, revitalizing commercial corridors and making neighborhoods great for all residents.
Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, OK and former Mayor Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, OH, co-chairs of the Local Leaders Council’s advisory board, welcomed leaders to the reception. Both mayors pointed to the importance of building on the shared goals of the group and learning from each other’s experiences and approaches over the days ahead.