Neighborhoods as Source of Resilience in Tough Economic Times
Here is an excerpt from a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op-ed from David Lewis, emeritus professor of urban studies at Carnegie Mellon. The op-ed is a framed as a letter from Davis to President Obama:
Neighborhoods are the essence of urban America, and they are desperately in need of revitalization. We have huge capital value in our urban heritages — not just in our people and their local cultures, but in our buildings, our streets and even in our utilities and sewers. Yet our local and metropolitan governments are strained to the breaking point to maintain these amenities because tax revenues are inadequate — tax revenues that in large part now depend on debased property values.
One thing we do not need is the expansion of highways, which would expand suburbs, industrial parks and big-box retailers, and which would further deplete opportunities for the revival of our cities.
We need precisely the opposite. Our neighborhoods and cities need to rise up and demand to be heard. We need to follow your lead, Mr. President, and say yes we can. We need the financial tools that would empower us to recreate our middle class, neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town, all across America. We, the people, can do the rest.