Planning for a More Dynamic Population

The U.S. has experienced "demographic tsunamis " in the past: post-Civil War Reconstruction, European immigration of 1845-1920, rapid post-WWII suburbanization, the Cuban immigration to Miami in 1960-1961, the shift to the Sunbelt in the 1980s, and the "return to the city " movement of recent decades.

We have termed this general phenomenon "The Changing Face of America, " and APA is responding in a number of ways:

  • Sessions at the annual National Planning Conference
  • Books and PAS Reports
  • A series of bibliographies on the topics most related to the forecasted changes
  • The Daniel Burnham Forum on the future
  • Division Initiatives involving programs, case studies, special reports, and more
  • New interest groups on food systems, sustainability, aging, and civic engagement

What's next, and what can we learn from the past?

Population Dynamics

The U.S. population is incredibly mobile and ever changing. Just a few of the trends from the 2010 Census and the literature that will affect planners over the next decade include:

  • Minorities as the majority: The face of America is changing, becoming more diverse; many metros no longer have a single racial/ethnic majority. How do planners need to adapt to cultural imperatives and invent new approaches to civic engagement?
  • The population is aging: The workforce would decline but for immigration. How do we foster economic growth while supporting an increasingly more dependent population?
  • Re-urbanization: There has been somewhat of a "back-to-the-city movement " and former declining cities are again growing; some in unexpected ways. What should planners do to create the 21st Century City?
  • Shrinking Cities and Suburbs: Some cities, and suburbs, are shrinking, facing a permanently smaller population. Foreclosures have depopulated entire neighborhoods in both urban and suburban communities. How can planners address the key issues in these communities?

There have been massive regional shifts in population and jobs over the past several decades. Are these trends changing? How?

How do planners adapt to new needs/demands? What planning issues are generated by population trends?

  • New methods for community engagement;
  • Infill and densification of existing neighborhoods;
  • Expanded uses on single family lots — accessory dwelling ordinances; home occupation; even a re-definition of "family ";
  • Legal reforms needed to "clear " the housing market

Megatrends

Higher levels of rental housing may result in increased movement or mobility. For example, Arlington, Virginia's population has been relatively stable; however, half of the households living there today lived in another place within the past five years.

In half a decade or less a community has the potential to change its population dramatically. Using Arlington as an example again, approximately 20,000 workers — 10 percent of the total workforce — are being transferred to other areas of the region and the country as a result of Base Realignment and Closure. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that all of these workers are leaving locations well served by mass transit for areas with no significant transit service.

Within the same region, one city's policies regarding immigration have caused thousands to relocate to surrounding communities. Intra-regional shifts of households and jobs can have huge repercussions. Some potential planning issues:

  • Federal policy regarding locations of federal facilities;
  • Flexible affordable housing policies;
  • Housing and tenant support systems;
  • Resilience in systems and programs to rapidly respond to needs;
  • New forms of civic engagement that increase outreach and participation

Immigration Bibliography

This bibliography is an online resource for planners and researchers seeking an interdisciplinary, annotated bibliography of pertinent literature about immigration.

This list highlights articles, events, and other publications from the American Planning Association and other experts in the field.

New publications and educational opportunities will be added periodically so please revisit this list to see the most current ideas about immigration.

A Note on the Availability of Resources

Articles from Planning magazine are available online to members of APA.

Articles from JAPA, Zoning Practice, Planning & Environmental Law, and PAS Memo are available to those publications' subscribers in varying online formats. JAPA articles in the bibliography contain an access link for subscribers who are also APA members.

Periodicals

Fishman, R. 2005. "The Fifth Migration." Journal of the American Planning Association 71(4): 357-366.

  • In the 1920s, Lewis Mumford correctly predicted that the rest of the century would be dominated by a "Fourth Migration" from the central cities to their suburbs. In this article, the author makes that case that we are now at the beginning of a fifth migration that will reurbanize precisely those inner-city districts that were previously depopulated. Four sources for this trend are identified: downtown reurbanism; immigrant reurbanism; Black reurbanism; and White middle-class reurbanism. The challenges in planning the fifth migration are discussed.

Berg, Nate. 2009. "The Big Shift: The Nation Adapts to Its Growing Minority Population." Planning. July, 18-21.

  • Demographic roles are switching in the U.S., bringing on what many have labeled the "minority majority" — a future where the ethnic and racial groups we now call minorities tip the scales. As more and more cities face these population changes, cities will have to start thinking about how their planning processes need to evolve.

Bomba, Michael S. 2008. "Good Fences." Planning.  May, 36-41.

  • Communities along the U.S.–Mexico border are struggling with the new realities of homeland security.

Gabel-Luddy, Emily. 2004. "Planning for Diversity: Lessons from the Los Angeles Design Action Planning Team Program." PAS Memo. September. Available at  www.planning.org/pas/memo/2004/sep/.

  • When working in an ethnically diverse community, planners face the challenge of understanding land uses unique to certain populations. This issue looks back at the successful approach of the Los Angeles Design Action Planning Team program, held in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as one way that planners can mobilize resources to meet the needs of minority populations and help them develop a sense of place and community identification.

Greco, JoAnn. 2008. "La Vida Local." Planning.  March, 14-19.

  • Fed up with federal inaction, America's small towns and large cities are finding ways to deal with a flood of immigrants — including many who are undocumented.

Hartman,Chester.  1994. "On Poverty and Racism, We Have Had Little to Say." Journal of the American Planning Association. 60(2): 158.

  • A commentary on the article "Advocacy and Pluralism in Planning," written by Paul Davidoff. The author touches on the following: the optimism and positive tone of Davidoff's message; the importance of plans and planning; the effects of open advocacy planning on immigration and race; and the projects of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC).

Lang, Robert, Mariela Alfonzo, and Casey Dawkins. "American Demographics – Circa 2109." Planning. May, 10-15.

  • This article presents predictions of America's population and demographics in 2109 based on measurements and analyses conducted in 2009. Barring major catastrophes, the size of the future population is estimated at around 600 million, with the center point population estimated to be moving both south and west. Immigration will continue to fuel growth as well as racial and ethnic mixing. Estimates are based on U.S. census data and the authors' own research.

Lucero, Lora. 2008. "Courts Uphold State and Local Immigration Laws." Planning. April, 47-48.

  • An examination of court decisions upholding state and local government immigration laws, particularly in the absence of significant federal action.

Meck, Stuart. 2009. "A Familiar Ring: A Retrospective on the First National Conference on City Planning (1909). Planning and Environmental Law  61(4): 3-10.

  • A commentary on the endurance of the urban planning themes discussed 100 years ago at the first national conference on city planning.

Pendall, Rolf. 2000. "Local Land Use Regulations and the Chain of Exclusion." Journal of the American Planning Association 66(2): 125-142.

  • Presents a study to test the connections between land use controls and the racial composition of the communities that use them. Findings that in the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, low-density-only zoning, which restricts residential densities to fewer than 80 dwelling units per acre, consistently reduced rental housing; Resulting limit in the number of black and Hispanic residents; Association between building permit caps with lowered portions of Hispanic residents.

Qadeer, Mohammad A. 1997. "Pluralistic planning for multicultural cities." Journal of the American Planning Association 63(4): 481-494.

  • Discusses the range of urban planning issues arising multiculturalism in Canada. Areas or aspects likely to be affected by cultural diversity; Steps in pluralistic practices of planning; Case histories and patterns of planning responses to multiculturalism in Canada.

APA Divisions

Ansong, Amy. 2006. "How many people can live in your house?" Housing and Community Development Quarterly. APA Housing and Community Development Division, Spring.

Vitiello, Domenic. 2009. "The Migrant Metropolis and American Planning." Journal of the American Planning Association 75(2): 245-255.

  • In this study the author considers how practitioners and scholars have understood and addressed the planning challenges and opportunities presented by the major migrations of ethnic minorities to U.S. cities and regions over the past century. He focuses on three principal eras: early 20th century southern and eastern European immigration; the mid-century internal migrations of African Americans and Puerto Ricans; and immigration in the late 20th and early 21st century. In his findings, the authors argues that the planning profession has had an ambiguous and often ambivalent relationship with migrant communities and has struggled to define specific roles for planners within those communities while social workers and other community and economic development practitioners played larger roles.

Books

Lucy, William H., and David L. Phillips. 2006. Tomorrow's Cities, Tomorrow's Suburbs. Chicago: Planners Press.

  • Planning scholars William H. Lucy and David L. Phillips document signs of resurgence in cities and interpret omens of decline in many suburbs. They offer an extensive analysis of the 2000 census, with insights into the influence of income disparities, housing age and size, racial segregation, immigration, and poverty. Evidence is offered that the decline of cities can continue to be reversed, tempered by a warning of a mid-life crisis looming in the suburbs. Practical policies are given for local action, steps that planners, elected officials, and citizens can take to create an environment in which both cities and suburbs can thrive.

Past APA Presentations/Events

American Planning Association. April 14, 2012. "Student: Enhancing Social Equity through Green Infrastructure (W008S)." Workshop at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Learn how LA has used green infrastructure investments to enhance neighborhood quality of life, flooding mitigation, and economic outcomes in underserved neighborhoods. Explore the significant challenges of bringing new watershed design techniques to minority and underserved communities. Consider property owner involvement in redesigning lawns, driveways, and sidewalks in areas where chronic flooding, poor street conditions, and a lack of lighting have eroded trust.

Hanlon, Bernadette. 2012. "Crossing Into New Territory: Suburban Immigration and Local Government Reactions in the Washington DC Region." Available at www.utah-apa.org/webcast-archive.

  • This webcast discusses the many immigrants bypassing cities and moving directly into suburbs. Learn about the new geography of immigration and differing policies at the federal, state, and local levels, focusing on the Washington, D.C., area.

Kim, Melissa, Philip Green, Stacey Chen, and Mindy Watts.  2012. "Planning for Immigrant and Multi-ethnic Communities." AICP CM course held by the APA New Jersey Chapter. June 12.

  • This forum presented an overview of some key concepts, trends and issues to consider when planning in immigrant and multi-ethnic contexts. A variety of tools (along with their advantages and drawbacks) were presented to (1) explore a range of possible planning approaches and tactics for communities with large immigrant populations and (2) illustrate how these approaches can enrich planning practice more generally.

Laughlin, Michael P. April 17, 2012. "Latino Urbanism: Retrofitting a Car Centric Suburb (W062)." Workshop at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Explore how Latino culture shapes the built environment. As immigrants settle in Los Angeles, they bring with them different ways of using urban spaces and layer them onto the existing built environment. Their experiences and expectations can be seen in the way Latinos retrofit the urban design of the streets. View some of LA's most vivid and unique landscapes on this walking tour.

Lum, Matthew, Alexander Holsheimer, and Beth Rodin. April 15, 2012. "Public Markets as Sites for Immigrant Entrepreneurship (S501)." Presentation at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Examine the results of research into the ability of public markets to serve as business incubators and expand opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs. The Thai Community Development Center, a nonprofit dedicated to community and economic development in the greater Los Angeles area, explores whether a public market housed in a multi-tenant warehouse with shared services can improve the situation of recent immigrant entrepreneurs.

Mack, Karen E. April 16, 2012. "Ethnic Communities in Los Angeles (W040)." Workshop at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Consider economic development in culturally rich, largely immigrant, low-income neighborhoods. Explore the rich traditions, history, art, cuisine, and community and discuss why some are able to leverage their cultural assets into increased tourist and economic activity while others struggle with disinvestment, poverty, and physical deterioration.

Myers, Dowell. April 15, 2012. "The Changing Face of America (P007)." Dinner program at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Who are we planning for? Demographics change quickly in a highly mobile society; who will be living in our communities 20 years from now? What are the population dynamics that we all need to be aware of? Dowell Myers, a contributor to Planning Los Angeles, will add insight to the Changing Face of America.

________. February 22, 2012. "The Great Immigration Turnaround: New Facts and Old Rhetoric." AICP CM course.

  • Changes before and after the Great Recession will be spotlighted, with discussions of how key immigration myths are now outdated. Fact-based trends are revealed using an animated presentation to reinterpret the benefits and costs of immigration in light of the aging baby boomer tsunami.

Padilla, Katherine, et al. April 15, 2012. "American Suburbs and Latino Transformations (W004)." Workshop at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Tour several places in Los Angeles County where Latinos have transformed main streets, blue-collar suburbs and shopping centers. Experience the vibrancy and diversity of LA's Latino neighborhoods. Learn why these places are anything but stereotypical ethnic enclaves. Gain insights into the ever changing landscape of demographic and economic diversity in cities and regions throughout the U.S.

Preston, Steven A., Dowell Myers, Sylvia Lewis, and Linda M. Jackson. April 15, 2012. "A Demographic Picture of America (S477)." Presentation at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Today's finely grained demographic data presents a textured picture of America. In a globalizing world, not only is the profile of Americans changing, but the implications of immigration have the potential to shape America's relationships with other countries.

Silver, Mitchell J., and Sarah C. Treuhaft. April 17, 2012. "Planning for the Demographic Remix (S626)." Presentation at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • America's greatest demographic shift will occur in the 21st century. The graying and browning of America, generational shifts, and fewer married couples and children will change the way we plan. The rise of the millennials and aging of the boomers will change market demand for housing and transportation choices. How will communities adapt to these dramatic changes?

Varma, Arthi L., Bill Watanabe, and Chanchanit Martorell. April 16, 2012. "Los Angeles Asian-Pacific Islander Communities (S531). Presentation at the APA 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Investigate how Asian-Pacific Islander communities in Los Angeles are changing the face of America by challenging outdated public perceptions about ethnic communities and shifting the stance from inward-oriented ethnic enclave to outwardly welcoming all. Develop strategies to enhance economic development through tourism in ethnic communities without jeopardizing cultural identity and practices.

Other Resources

Investing in Our Communities: Strategies for Immigrant Integration: Provides profiles of more than 75 promising program and policy models that can inform work in local communities in the areas of community planning, health and well-being, economic mobility, civic participation, and more.

National Equity Atlas: A comprehensive data resource to track, measure, and make the case for inclusive growth.

Shrinking Communities Bibliography

The Shrinking Cities Bibliography is an online resource for planners and researchers seeking an interdisciplinary, annotated bibliography of pertinent literature about cities in transition.

This list highlights articles, events, and other publications from the American Planning Association and other experts in the field.

New publications and educational opportunities will be added periodically so please revisit this list to see the most current ideas about Shrinking Cities.

A Note on the Availability of Resources

Articles from Planning magazine and PAS Memo are available online to members of APA.

Articles from JAPA, Zoning Practice, and Planning & Environmental Law are available to those publications' subscribers in varying online formats. JAPA articles in the bibliography contain an access link for subscribers who are also APA members.

Current Articles and Research

Berkooz, Corry Buckwalter. 2010. "Repurposing Detroit." Planning. November, 26-31. Available at www.planning.org/planning/2010/nov/detroit.htm.

  • The article provides an overview of concerns and challenges facing Detroit as it attempts to revitalize its urban fabric and economic core. Community interactions and nonprofit collaboration is helping to spur some innovative new solutions to try and arrest the city's decline.

Bonfiglio, Olga. 2009. "Delicious in Detroit." Planning. August, 32-37. Available at www.planning.org/planning/2009/aug/deliciousdetroit.htm.

  • Urban agriculture has become entrenched in Detroit. This article discusses many gardening and agricultural projects being undertaken in the city to make use of its large number of vacant lots. Initiatives to ease the transfer and use of land are also described.

Bratt, Rachel G. 2008. "Viewing Housing Holistically: The Resident-Focused Component of the Housing-Plus Agenda." Journal of the American Planning Association 74(1): 100-110. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360701816071 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • The author provides an overview of the national "housing plus" initiatives for families and discusses their effectiveness. It includes recommendations for changes in state and federal policies based on the reviewing housing plus literature and interviews with staff at eight large regional nonprofit organizations that provide such programs.

Dick, Andrew. 2007. "Blight fight." Planning. June, 44-46.

  • Abandoned properties and vacant lots have become a burden in Detroit's neighborhoods as opportunities for crime. This article describes an aggressive approach to nuisance abatement where the county has the power to pursue lawsuits and permanently seize properties.

Hollander, Justin B. 2011. "Surprising Facts from the Census." Planning. March, 44. Available at www.planning.org/planning/2011/mar/viewpoint.htm.

  • An analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census results reveals that Sun Belt states that experienced growth before the recession were hardest hit in its wake, and some of them lost population. This column briefly addresses the importance of planning for depopulation by thinking in terms of "smart decline."

Hollander, Justin B. 2011. Sunburnt Cities: The Great Recession, Depopulation and Urban Planning in the American Sunbelt. London / New York: Routledge. Available for purchase at www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415592123/

  • The author researches urban decline in Rustbelt and Sunbelt cities, arguing that urban development could be achieved through smart shrinkage. Case studies that include statistics, literature, and individual stories from Phoenix; Flint, Michigan; Orlando, Florida; and Fresno, California, support the author's position that growth for growth's sake in not beneficial for those communities, and alternatives beyond growth policies should be explored to create sustainable communities.

Hollander, Justin B., and Jeremy Nemeth. 2011. "The bounds of smart decline: A foundational theory for planning shrinking cities." Housing Policy Debate 21(3): 349-367. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10511482.2011.585164

  • As more cities have felt the impact of population decline throughout the U.S., there is a greater need to understand smart decline practices. Using observations of various cities, this paper advances a foundational theory of smart decline that takes as its starting point discussions of ethics, equity, and social justice in the planning and political theory literature.

Hollander, Justin B. 2011. "Can a city successfully shrink? Evidence from survey data on neighborhood quality." Urban Affairs Review 47(1): 129-141.

  • In this paper the author examines survey data on perceptions of neighborhood quality in cities with population decline. Contrary to the negative mindset one would expect, the results showed a show a high level of heterogeneity among shrinking cities in terms of perceptions of neighborhood quality: some cities experiencing loss in both housing and population showed an increase in overall perceptions of neighborhood quality.

Hollander, Justin B. 2010. "Moving towards a shrinking cities metric: Analyzing land use changes associated with depopulation in Flint, Michigan." Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research 12(1): 133-151.

  • Cities with declining populations do not shrink uniformly; some neighborhoods experience more drastic physical impacts, such as housing abandonment, than other neighborhoods. Using data from a detailed study of Flint, Michigan, this paper works towards creating metrics that may be useful in implementing smart decline practices.

Hollander, Justin B., Karina Pallagst, Terry Schwarz, and Frank Popper. 2009. "Planning shrinking cities." Progress in Planning 72(4): 223-232. (special issue: Emerging Research Areas).

  • This article explores some creative and innovative ways that scholars and practitioners have responded to declines in populations across the globe. Instead of taking the traditional approach of instigating economic development strategies and other growth strategies that have been shown to fail, a new emerging approach reframes shrinking cities beyond the economic view.

Krohe Jr., James. 2011. "The Incredible Shrinking City." Planning. November, 10-15. Available at www.planning.org/planning/2011/nov/shrinkingcity.htm.

  • According to the 2010 Census, almost three dozen U.S. cities that had populations over 100,000 in 1950 have lost at least 20 percent of their residents. Cities like Buffalo; Cleveland; Detroit; Flint, Michigan; and Youngstown, Ohio, have attempted to find new ways to manage "smart decline." To prevent blight from property abandonment and foreclosure, some cities have sped up or bypassed the process for tax foreclosures. Other cities have stimulated demand for properties by creating land banks in which parcels can be assembled together for redevelopment.

LaCroix, Catherine J. 2011. "Urban Green Uses: The New Renewal." Planning & Environmental Law 63(5): 3-13. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15480755.2011.579524.

  • The author discusses how cities like Cleveland, Detroit, and Youngstown, Ohio, have adopted an array of innovative green uses for vacant and surplus land in order to revitalize the city and serve its residents. Green resources discussed are urban agriculture, community green spaces, alternative energy, and green infrastructure.

Lucy, William H. 2010. Foreclosing the Dream: How America's Housing Crisis Is Reshaping our Cities and Suburbs. Chicago: Planners Press.

  • This book describes the foreclosure rates in 236 counties in the 35 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. It includes an assessment of what the housing crisis will mean for the shapes of our exurbs, older suburbs, and central cities.

Morley, David. 2010. "Meeting the Vacant Property Challenge." Zoning Practice, June. www.planning.org/zoningpractice/.

  • The ongoing foreclosure crisis and subsequent recession have led to the proliferation of vacant properties, both in perpetual hard-luck cities like Detroit and in boomtowns such as San Diego. This article briefly examines the key components of successful comprehensive vacant property revitalization efforts and highlights specific regulatory and programmatic strategies that local governments can use to improve code enforcement efforts and facilitate the recycling of vacant properties.

Pantalone, Stephen, and Justin B. Hollander. 2011. "The Relaxed Zoning Overlay: A Tool for Addressing the Property Vacancy Cycle." Zoning Practice. September. www.planning.org/zoningpractice/.

  • Vacant properties are a significant drain on city resources, both in terms of lost revenue from falling property values and in increased expenses from crime and vandalization. The purpose of the relaxed zoning overlay (RZO) is to mitigate these impacts by anticipating decline and adapting the property supply in a given community. This article introduces the RZO as a potential new tool for cities in transition and includes a suggested ordinance framework for this new type of overlay.

Planning and the Black Community Division, APA. 2009. "Vision for Broadway." Final Report: PBCD Technical Assistance for Gary, Indiana. Available at www.planning.org/divisions/blackcommunity/pdf/garyindiana.pdf.

  • Broadway, the city's major transportation artery which used to be a symbol of Gary, Indiana's strength, now features the most obvious expressions of the city's decline. This report is culmination of developing a community vision that would strike a balance between encouraging development while protecting the sense of place. The project identified strategies, including equitable development, smart growth, context-sensitive design, and heritage preservation.

Raitt, Jennifer M., and Mariana Arcaya. 2010. "Foreclosure: Community Impacts, Prevention, and Stabilization Strategies." PAS Memo. September. Available at www.planning.org/pas/memo/2010/sep/

  • This issue of PAS Memo takes a look at how communities are impacted by foreclosures, what cities are doing to prevent and respond to foreclosures, and how planners can develop a strategy to address foreclosures in their communities and help stabilize neighborhoods.

Schilling, Joseph, and Jonathan Logan. 2008. "Greening the Rust Belt: A Green Infrastructure Model for Right Sizing America's Shrinking Cities." Journal of the American Planning Association 74(4): 451-466. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360802354956 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • The authors propose to right-size shrinking cities by using a new model that institutes green infrastructure plans and programs, creates land banks to manage the effort, and builds community consensus through collaborative neighborhood planning.

Shigley, Paul. 2008. "Fixing Foreclosure." Planning. June, 6-10.

  • The author discusses how foreclosures are impacting communities around the country. Various local governments are experimenting with different programs to either prevent foreclosure or manage abandoned buildings.

Smith, Roger G. 2007. "Last, Best Chance." Planning, April, 18.

  • The Youngstown 2010 plan received APA's Public Outreach Award because of its unique approach of rallying community leaders, volunteers, and the public to become actively involved in creating a plan that addressed the declining population of the city.

Talen, Emily. 2009. Urban Design Reclaimed: Tools, Techniques, and Strategies for Planners. Chicago: Planners Press.

  • Urban design is an important part of creating a more vibrant, sustainable community; many cities in transition can use urban design to help make that community while creating more economic value. This how-to book provides an urban design vocabulary and corresponding set of applications created for planners without an architecture background.

Background/Historic Articles and Research

Beauregard, Robert A. 2003. Voices of Decline: The Postwar Fate of U.S.Cities. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

  • A history of the modern American city, this book discusses the "urban crisis" in the 20th century. While shedding light on blind spots that caused urban decay, the author also suggests that changes in public policy resulted in urban "renaissances" in the 1990s.

Bonham, Jr., J. Blaine, Gerri Spilika, and Darl Rastorfer. 2002. Old Cities/Green Cities: Communities Transform Unmanaged Land. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 506/507. Chicago: American Planning Association. Available at https://planning.org/publications/report/9026843/.

  • This report, developed from Pennsylvania Horticultural Society documents, addresses the challenges to urban areas caused by vacant land. It addresses large-scale greening systems, vacant land as a neighborhood resource, and the link between urban renewal and sprawl. Includes an in-depth look at some of the society programs.

Byrum, Oliver E. 1992. Old Problems in New Times: Urban Strategies for the 1990s. Chicago: Planners Press.

  • This book discusses various central city planning strategies in order to identify the potential and successes of many central city improvement efforts while the social conditions of other parts of the same cities continue to decline. The report was sponsored by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota.

Dawkins, Casey J., & Nelson, Arthur C. 2003. "State Growth Management Programs and Central-City Revitalization." Journal of the American Planning Association 69(4): 381–396. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360308976326 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • In order to evaluate growth management programs, the authors develop a framework for thinking about the effects of state growth management programs, specifically a central city's ability to attract new residential construction activity. The findings suggest that state growth management programs may be an effective tool for promoting the revitalization of central cities.

Dewar, Margaret. 2006. "Selling Tax-Reverted Land: Lessons from Cleveland and Detroit." Journal of the American Planning Association 72(2): 167-180. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360608976737 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • Detroit and Cleveland have used different approaches in dealing with widespread property abandonment. This article compares the two cities' approaches, finding that Cleveland's land bank has been an effective approach to selling tax-reverted land for reuse, while Detroit's method has not been as effective.

Finnerty Jr., Thomas A. 2003. "Youngstown Embraces Its Future." Planning. August, 14-19.

  • This article discusses recent local history and the Youngstown 2010 planning process. Through the unique collaborative planning process and input from residents and businesses, Youngstown, Ohio, identified four platforms as the basis of the vision: accepting Youngstown as a smallish community, defining Youngstown's role in the new regional economy, improving Youngstown's image and enhancing the quality of life, and a call to action.

Gasser, William. 1979."The Southeast Land Bank." Journal of the American Planning Association 45(4): 532-537. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944367908977001 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • This article documents the creation of a community-controlled urban redevelopment corporation to protect an area from speculative pressures and neighborhood blight. This experience provides valuable lessons for community organizations that want to participate in their communities' revitalization.

Galster, George, Peter Tatian and John Accordino. 2006. "Targeting investments for neighborhood revitalization." Journal of the American Planning Association 72(4): 457–474. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360608976766 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • Examining the revitalization strategy in Richmond, Virginia, this article finds that the program produced substantially greater appreciation in the market values of single-family homes in the targeted areas than in comparable homes in similarly distressed neighborhoods. Implications are that the strategy could be self-financing over a 20-year horizon, with public contributions offset by future increments in property tax revenues from target areas.

Hill, Edward W., and John Brennan. 2005. "America's Central Cities and the Location of Work: Can Cities Compete with Their Suburbs?" Journal of the American Planning Association 71(4): 411-432. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360508976713 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • The authors draw five lessons from an analysis of the competitive position of central cities in the job market and correlations between city and suburban job growth rates. Their findings: in central cities economic distress persists; employment growth in central cities is dependent on healthy regional employment growth; any economic development planning should reflect private companies' concern for profits; an educated workforce is needed for economic success; and central city governments should practice the habits of growth, without neglecting to plan for the long term.

Leigh, Nancey Green, and Lynn M. Patterson. 2006. "Deconstructing to Redevelop: A Sustainable Alternative to Mechanical Demolition." Journal of the American Planning Association 72(2): 217–225. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360608976740 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • This article discusses "deconstruction" — selectively disassembling buildings rather than demolishing them mechanically — which can yield new jobs, workforce skills training, and small business development, and can conserve natural resources. Includes existing and potential policies that support the use of deconstruction in redevelopment projects.

Lucy, William H., and David L. Phillips. 2006. Tomorrow's Cities, Tomorrow's Suburbs. Chicago: Planners Press. Available at https://planning.org/publications/book/9026771/

  • The authors document cases of the reversal of city decline, while noting signs of decline in many suburbs. They offer practical policies for steps that planners, elected officials, and citizens can take so both cities and suburbs can thrive.

Mendes, W., K. Balmer, T. Kaethler, and A. Rhoads. "Using Land Inventories to Plan for Urban Agriculture: Experiences from Portland and Vancouver." Journal of the American Planning Association 74(4): 435-450. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360802354923 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • Urban agriculture as a way to plan for a more sustainable community has been used to varying degrees of success in cities experiencing population decline. This article compares two Pacific Northwest cities that used municipal land inventories to identify potential urban agriculture public land.

Popper, Deborah E., and Frank J. Popper. 2002. "Small Can Be Beautiful." Planning. July, 20.

  • An overview of the concurrent trends of small town decline in the Great Plains and urban decline in the rust belt. Includes a discussion on "smart decline" and how to best funnel resources to serve those who stay behind.

Perloff, H.S. 1980. Planning the Post-Industrial city. Washington, D.C: Planners Press.

  • A classic volume that discusses the role of urban planning during a period of transition.

Porter, Douglas R., and Matthew R. Cuddy. 2006. Project Rating/Recognition Programs for Supporting Smart Growth Forms of Development. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 538. Chicago: American Planning Association. Available at https://planning.org/publications/report/9026866/

  • This report explains the purposes and procedures of a variety of ratings systems and discusses their effectiveness in assessing Smart Growth. Case studies are provided.

Ryznar, Rhonda M., and Thomas W. Wagner. 2001. "Using Remotely Sensed Imagery to Detect Urban Change: Viewing Detroit from Space." Journal of the American Planning Association 67(3): 327-336. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360108976239 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • The authors analyze the net vegetation change in Detroit between 1975 and 1992 using GIS data from NASA. The change in vegetation strongly correlated with patterns of social, economic, and demographic data. This suggests that processes of urban growth and decline, population shifts, and changes in urban form can be monitored from space.

Stromberg, Meghan. 2005. "Tough Love in Buffalo." Planning. October, 6-11.

  • After decades of population decline, Buffalo has created a new comprehensive plan designed to make it healthy, attractive, and stable city with about half the population size of its peak years. Buffalo is attempting a number of strategies: improving economic development through medical research and tourism, demolishing abandoned buildings, and making downtown and neighborhoods more livable. The biggest obstacle is a public perception of how planning will make the community a better place to live.

Thomas, June M. 1990. "Planning and Industrial Decline Lessons from Postwar Detroit." Journal of the American Planning Association 56(3): 297-310. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944369008975774 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • This article examines one city's public policy history in countering industrial exodus. The authors recommend that economic development efforts must adjust to new realities; Rust Belt cities like Detroit need broader policies designed to help remedy important social and economic problems.

International Resources

Hollander, Justin B., and Frank J. Popper. 2007. "Planning practice and the shrinking city: Reversing the land use allocation model." Plan Canada 47(2): 38-40.

  • Cities in Canada have been trying to address the challenges of declining cities but there are new techniques to address shrinkage. This paper offers a new approach about thinking decline and challenging the planning profession to engage in "smart decline."

Oswalt, Philipp, ed. 2006. Shrinking cities, volume 2: Interventions. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag.

  • Shrinking cities are a problem across the world. The book provides an international overview of concepts and strategies for shrinking cities in various fields. A series of essays critically discusses current projects in North America, Europe, and Japan.

Wiechmann, T. 2008. "Errors expected — aligning urban strategy with demographic uncertainty in shrinking cities." International Planning Studies 13(4): 431-446.

  • As cities in Europe began to experience population decreases, they had to address demographic, economic, and physical issues to plan and create for smaller but livable cities. Using Dresden, Germany, as a focus, the authors found that planners no longer used growth-oriented objectives but focused on a model for creating a compact "European city." As this strategy resulted in unexpected growth, the need for strategic flexibility become increasingly important in planning for shrinking cities.

General APA Resources

  • In this policy guide, the APA lays out a set of suggested principles and policy agendas for achieving sustainability. Appendix A provides a detailed list of "Planning Actions Towards Sustainability" across a number of planning areas.

American Planning Association. 2002. Policy Guide on Smart Growth. Available at www.planning.org/policy/guides/adopted/smartgrowth.htm.

  • Smart Growth seeks to refocus a larger share of regional growth within central cities and inner suburbs. This guide includes a definition of Smart Growth, description of the issue, specific policy motions, and outcomes that can be achieved by implementing these policies.

American Planning Association. 2004. Policy Guide on Public Redevelopment. Available at www.planning.org/policy/guides/adopted/redevelopment.htm.

  • This policy guide provides information and ideas on underutilized properties, legislative trends, unique places, public/private partnerships, and blighted area redevelopment. It is intended to establish policies that will increase the effectiveness of planners in formulating and implementing redevelopment policies and programs.

American Planning Association. 2007. Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning. Available at https://planning.org/policy/guides/adopted/food.htm

  • In this policy guide, the APA provides a vision and suggests ways for planners to become engaged in community and regional food planning. It presents seven general policies and the roles planners can play for each policy.

Downs, Anthony. 2005. "Smart Growth: Why We Discuss It More than We Do It." Journal of the American Planning Association 71 (4): 367–378. Available at www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944360508976707 (free to APA member JAPA subscribers who log in through www.planning.org/japa/subscriber/).

  • The author discusses why the number of places that follow Smart Growth policies are outnumbered by those where such policies are commonly discussed but rarely practiced effectively. Consulting a number of Smart Growth advocates, including urban planners, government officials, environmentalists, and real estate developers, this article analyzes how Smart Growth policies can become reality.

Feiden, Wayne, and Elisabeth M. Hamin. 2011. Assessing Sustainability: A Guide for Local Governments. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 565. Chicago: American Planning Association. Available at https://planning.org/publications/report/9026889/

  • Attempting to understand the real concepts underlying sustainability, this report offers useful information about understanding how sustainable development can be used for local governments. Tying goals with identification of useful benchmarks, indicators, and metrics, planners can evaluate and measure the success of various public policies for sustainability.

Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program and American Planning Association. 1998. The Principles of Smart Development. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 479. Chicago: American Planning Association. Available at https://planning.org/publications/report/9026828/

  • This report describes a development approach that adheres to the following principles: efficient use of land resources; full use of urban services; mixed use; transportation option; details; human-scale design; and implementation. It offers guidance to communities in determining whether local codes and standards encourage, support, or impede smart development.

Meck, Stuart. 2002. Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook, 2002 Edition. Chicago: American Planning Association. Available at www.planning.org/growingsmart/guidebook/

  • This guidebook contains model statutes for planning and the management of change. It includes chapters about a wide range of state, regional, and local planning issues such as regional tax-base sharing, innovative land-use options, incentive systems, traditional neighborhood development, affordable housing, farmland and historic preservation, economic redevelopment, and tax increment financing.

Presentations/Events

Some of these events may offer Certification Maintenance (CM) credit. Click on the listings links for details.

Barco, Carolina, Robert N. Brown, Jay Williams, and Jason Jordan. 2011. "Cities in Transition: Today's Realities and the Next Economies." AICP Symposium. Presentation to the 2011 AICP Symposium. Available at www.planning.org/aicp/symposium/.

  • This podcast and presentation provide examples of initiatives from around the country reinventing techniques for new economic development for ever changing cities.

Bier, Thomas. 2007. "Effects of Regional Housing Dynamics on Older Suburbs." Presented at Tuesdays at APA–Chicago. Available at www.planning.org/tuesdaysatapa/2007/may.htm

  • A presentation on the new suburban decline and the opportunities it creates for advances in public policies that affect development, population movement, and tax bases in cities and suburbs. A number of midwestern "first suburbs" coalitions have formed to combat this decline, including the Ohio First Suburbs Consortium, which focuses on the Cleveland area.

Trotter, Joanna, and Hubert Morgan. 2011. "Gary and Region Investment Project." Presentation at Tuesdays at APA–Chicago. Available at www.planning.org/tuesdaysatapa/2011/chicago/mar15.htm.

  • This podcast and presentation focuses on Gary and Region Investment Project (GRIP), taking a regional approach towards transformative projects with the aim of stabilizing and reinvesting in the urban core. Joanna Trotter from the Metropolitan Planning Council and Hubert Morgan from the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning commission provide an overview of GRIP and provided an update on progress to date.

Recent Past Events

AICP Symposium. April 16, 2012. "Realities and Economies of Transitioning Cities (S535)." Presentation at APA's 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Cities are always transitioning, requiring planners to reinvent techniques for new economic development. Explore initiatives from around the country that are creating opportunities for effective and equitable development.

Anderson, FAICP, William R., Terry F. Holzheimer, FAICP, Rhonda G. Phillips, AICP, and Juli Beth Hinds, AICP. April 16, 2012. "What Is Happening to America? (S620)". Presentation at APA's 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • This session will not only look at the trends that will face the next generation of planners, but let you know how to get involved now in shaping the future. Planning is about prosperity; learn how we can work together to create not only prosperity, but economic sustainability.

Fagg, Flinn, and Joseph Schilling. April 16, 2012. "Sun Belt Cities in Transition (S535)." Presentation at APA's 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Many Sun Belt cities left reeling by the Great Recession are faced with the challenge of charting a new course. For now, it is unclear when and if the boom times will return. Explore trends and prospects for these acutely distressed cities and hear how some pioneering places are responding to demographic and economic changes by transitioning to more sustainable and equitable development patterns.

Greene, Jamie A., and Ian Beniston. April 14, 2012. "Investment and Hope Amid Population Decline (S404)." Presentation at APA's 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Explore ways to transform shrinking, single-industry communities into sustainable, thriving ones. The challenge for planners is helping these towns, cities and regions transition from their former growth-fueled policies, plans, and development patterns into downsized, enduring places. Hear how two midwestern cities are managing job and population loses.

Mallach, Alan, Theresa Schwarz, and Flinn Fagg. April 16, 2012. "Planner's Role in Regenerating Distressed Communities (S579)." Presentation at APA's 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • Learn how planners can play a more creative and catalytic role in designing and implementing strategic planning efforts, building stronger community engagement, developing neighborhood-driven projects, and implementing short- and long-range programs and plans. Shrinking cities demand that planners be activists, not regulators. Discover how to be a change agent and work in tandem with other public and private actors.

Schilling, Joseph. April 15, 2012. "Planning for Prosperity (P008)." Presentation at APA's 2012 National Planning Conference.

  • How can shrinking cities be regenerated? Joe Schilling will present APA's new PAS Report, Cities in Transition.

Changing Face of America Bibliography

This is an online resource for planners and researchers seeking an interdisciplinary, annotated bibliography of literature that explores some the trends that have resulted from massive regional shifts in population and jobs over the past several decades including minorities in the majority, aging population and re-urbanization.

New publications and educational opportunities will be added periodically so please revisit this list to see the most current ideas about the Changing Face of America.

A Note on the Availability of Resources

Articles from Planning magazine and PAS Memo are available online to members of APA.

Articles from JAPA, Zoning Practice, and Planning & Environmental Law are available to those publications' subscribers in varying online formats. JAPA articles in the bibliography contain an access link for subscribers who are also APA members.

Current Articles and Research

APA Planning Advisory Service. 2008. "Housing an Aging Population." Essential Information Packet 21: American Planning Association. Preview available at https://www.planning.org/pas/infopackets/.

  • The demographics of America's communities are rapidly changing. As the country's population grows older, the demand for adequate services and resources for aging in place is quickly increasing. Learn more about the implications of this demographic shift and how communities are planning and zoning to house and support the elderly. This Essential Info Packet provides APA resources, reports, plans, and sample ordinances for a range of senior housing options to help you address this issue in your community. This packet is available free of charge to Planning Advisory Service subscribing agencies.

American Planning Association. 2011. "Multigenerational Planning: Using Smart Growth and Universal Design to Link the Needs of Children and the Aging Population." Family-Friendly Communities Briefing Papers 2. Available at www.planning.org/research/family/briefingpapers/pdf/multigenerational.pdf.

  • This brief explains how multigenerational planning creates new coalition-building opportunities. It delves into civic participation and engagement and why it is essential for all age groups. Finally it explores why an understanding of the needs of multiple generations and planning through the life cycle is essential to smart growth and sustainable design and development.

Arvidson, Adam Regn, and Stephen Carter-Novotni. 2011. "Here's to Long Life." Planning. May, 10-15. Available at www.planning.org/planning/2011/aug/longlife.htm.

  • Barnett explains how design can reshape suburban growth patterns, revitalize older cities, and retrofit metropolitan areas where earlier development decisions went wrong. He describes in detail specific techniques, materials, and technologies that should be known (but often aren't) to planners, public officials, concerned citizens, and others involved in development.

Berg, Nate. 2009. "The Big Shift: The Nation Adapts to Its Growing Minority Population." Planning. July, 18-21. Available at www.planning.org/planning/2009/jul/bigshift.htm.

  • Demographic roles are switching in the U.S., bringing on what many have labeled the "minority majority" — a future where the ethnic and racial groups we now call minorities tip the scales. As more and more cities face these population changes, cities will have to start thinking about how their planning processes need to evolve.

Gabel-Luddy, Emily. 2004. "Planning for Diversity: Lessons from the Los Angeles Design Action Planning Team Program." PAS Memo. September. Available at www.planning.org/pas/memo/2004/sep/.

  • When working in an ethnically diverse community, planners face the challenge of understanding land uses unique to certain populations. This issue looks back at the successful approach of the Los Angeles Design Action Planning Team program, held in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as one way that planners can mobilize resources to meet the needs of minority populations and help them develop a sense of place and community identification.

Lang, Robert, Mariela Alfonzo, and Casey Dawkins. "American Demographics – Circa 2109." Planning. May, 10-15. Available at www.planning.org/planning/2009/may/demographics2109.htm.

  • In popular imagination, America is the land of wide open spaces. But in reality, much of it is more densely populated than Europe. Two-thirds of the U.S. population lives on less than 20 percent of the privately owned land, clustered in 20-some megapolitan areas — networks of metropolitan centers fused by common economic, physical, social, and cultural traits. This book draws on detailed data to map out the dramatic — and surprisingly positive — shifts ahead. Backed by hard numbers, Nelson and Lang argue for long-range planning that sheds outdated images and stokes the nation's economic engines.

Planning and the Black Community Division, APA. 2009. "Vision for Broadway." Final Report: PBCD Technical Assistance for Gary, Indiana. Available at www.planning.org/divisions/blackcommunity/pdf/garyindinana.pdf.

  • Broadway, the city's major transportation artery and the former symbol of Gary's strength, now features the most obvious expressions of the city's decline. This report is the culmination of a community vision that would strike a balance between encouraging development while protecting the sense of place. The project identified strategies — including equitable development, smart growth, context sensitive design, and heritage preservation — that local officials could consider for facilitating development along the urban corridor while protecting the cultural heritage and cherished institutions that could be leveraged to create a "place-making dividend" for the city.

Schilling, Joseph, and Alan Mallach. 2012. Cities in Transition: A Guide for Practicing Planners. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 568. Chicago: American Planning Association. Available at https://www.planning.org/publications/report/9026892/.

  • This report is a compendium of ideas and strategies for practicing planners to address and create more resilient and sustainable communities based on 10 years of fieldwork and policy work with planners, policy makers, and community leaders. In case studies from cities in the Rust Belt, the Sun Belt, and abroad, readers will find examples of urban recovery at work and will come away with concrete ideas for making transitional cities stronger, healthier, and more resilient.

Talen, Emily. 2010. "Fixing the Mess We Made: How to Correct the Problems Caused by Sprawl." Planning. November, 32-36. Available at www.planning.org/planning/2010/nov/fixingthemess.htm.

  • The article provides an overview of the likely new urban and suburban approach to growth in the 21st century: sprawl repair. Unlike attempts to restrict development or alter it in new greenfield construction, like new urbanism and neo-traditional planning, the concept of sprawl repair essentially repurposes existing suburban forms to increase intensity or density by retrofitting dead malls, underused parking lots, and the like.

Background/Historic Articles and Research/Non–APA Resources

Hutton, Thomas A. 2008. The New Economy of the Inner City: Restructuring, Regeneration and Dislocation in the Twenty-First-Century Metropolis. New York: Routledge.

  • This monograph examines the post-industrial landscape as it is being transformed by the technology sector. A description of the new urban economy and case studies of four international cities are accompanied by a literature review and a theoretical framework.

Archived Presentations/Events

Gourguechon, Jacques A., and Leonard F. Heumann. 2011."Planning for an Aging Population." Available at www.planning.org/resources/ontheradar/aging/pdf/planningagingwebcast.pdf.

  • With the Baby Boomer Generation retiring and a large segment of the population entering old age, planners have a new set of demands for planning communities and developments that address these changing demographics. This webcast provides some guidance and tools from experts in the field.

Hanlon, Bernadette. 2012. "Crossing Into New Territory: Suburban Immigration and Local Government Reactions in the Washington DC Region." Available at www.utah-apa.org/webcast-archive.

  • This webcast discusses the many immigrants bypassing cities and moving directly into suburbs. Learn about the new geography of immigration and differing policies at the federal, state, and local levels, focusing on the Washington, D.C., area.

Kahrl, Andrew. 2011. "The Plight of Black Coastal Landowners in the Sunbelt South and Its Lessons for Post–Housing Bubble America." Presentation for Tuesdays at APA–Chicago. Available at www.planning.org/tuesdaysatapa/2011/chicago/apr.htm.

  • At the turn of the 20th century, African Americans owned vast swaths of property along America's shores. By the post–World War II era, African American beaches and resorts served as important places for working families to escape from the daily indignities of Jim Crow and for a separate, seasonal black leisure economy to take shape. The death of Jim Crow coincided with the emergence of a pro-growth, corporate-friendly Sunbelt economy, which led to massive resort and residential development in coastal areas, and the targeting of black coastal landowners as the path of least resistance. From the 1960s to the present, African American property owners in areas targeted for leisure-based economic and real estate development have struggled to fend off various schemes deployed by developers and their allies in municipal, county, and state governments to expropriate and put valuable property to "best use."

Vasandani, Mahender. 2010. "The Evolution of Our Suburbs." Presentation for Tuesdays at APA–Chicago. Available at www.planning.org/tuesdaysatapa/2010/mar.htm.

National Planning Conference Presentations