Building One PA event: Regional Solutions Key to Urban Revitalization

The mood at last night’s Building One PA event in Allentown was hopeful. Community members gathered to watch “The New Metropolis” documentary, which, among other things, highlighted the crucial link between urban revitalization and comprehensive regional planning. The discussion that followed also focused on the need to plan better on a regional level.

The documentary recounted the history of urban sprawl, starting with government policies put into place after World War II. These policies encouraged new developments on cheap farmlands with the aid of state and federal subsidies. Now, many decades later, these original communities are struggling with keeping up with finances, as new developments keep popping up in the outlying areas. Urban planning leaders in the film called for a better, more coordinated approach to planning, with Myron Orefield stating that “regional land-use policies–tied to infrastructure planning– are the key to smart growth.”

The discussion that followed among the panelists and audience members brought out some good commentary about what needs to be done to encourage reinvestment in our older communities. Mayor Pawlowski of Allentown stressed that policy changes have to be implemented on the statewide level. Current policies tend to favor new developments over efforts to rebuild aging infrastructure in older communities, which places an unfair burden on these communities. The panel encouraged community members to organize in their respective municipalities and keep working with RenewLV to find effective solutions to these issues.

This discussion will continue at the greater Building One Pennsylvania summit, taking place in Lancaster on July 16th. We encourage any interested residents and workers of the Lehigh Valley to attend this event on the 16th. Click here to register. To keep up to date on matters related to regional collaboration and urban revitalization, make sure to sign up for RenewLV’s e-mail list on our Join Us page.

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on June 29, 2010, in Events, Housing, Municipal Government, Public Infrastructure, Regions, Transportation, Urbanism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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