Many of the nation's older, industrial cities have experienced a sharp drop in jobs and population over the last several decades, and the recession has only aggravated this problem. The federal government's role in addressing urban decline has historically been uncoordinated and inconsistent, even as these cities are home to invaluable institutional and physical assets. If the government chooses to promote remediation and growth, a new unified approach will be required. This paper examines the causes and effects of widespread urban decline and proposes strategies for a renewed federal response that targets assets and facilitates new uses for vacant space.
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