Stronger Neighborhoods through Strategic Decisions: The New ReLocal Tool
Over the past two years, the Rightsizing Cities Initiative of PlaceEconomics has conducted one of the only comprehensive surveys of what’s happening on the ground in legacy cities (for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation), spoken at conferences, convened and sponsored a focused professional meeting around preservation and rightsizing, and talked to planners, preservation advocates, and policymakers from dozens of legacy cities.
After hearing from many stakeholders that cities lacked a way to prioritize investments, we developed a new tool called ReLocal to help direct reinvestment in communities that have significant numbers of vacant and abandoned properties and limited resources to deal with them.
ReLocal is a framework for building stronger neighborhoods, using vacant properties as key parts of long-range plans. The tool uses diverse, comprehensive data to evaluate neighborhood health and vitality and propose stable, sustainable uses for neighborhoods at the tipping point. ReLocal then provides an array of strategic options for each vacant property—an array that allows local choices, responds to a range of funding types, and facilitates the coordination of multiple public and private entities.
Profits through Preservation: The Economic Impact of Historic Preservation in Utah
A new report prepared by PlaceEconomics for the Utah Heritage Foundation finds that historic preservation pulls its weight in Utah. It creates jobs and income, raises and stabilizes property values, generates heritage tourism dollars, helps conserve the natural environment, and supports local entrepreneurs. Read the executive summary here and the condensed report here [PDFs], or download the technical report here.
Getting Results: New Report on Iowa Main Street
RESEARCH MEASURES ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF MAIN STREET
A new report finds that Main Street Iowa effectively creates jobs, supports local business growth, encourages reinvestment in historic buildings, and generates property and sales taxes that see up to a 50-fold return on Main Street program dollars. The report examines the impacts of the Main Street Iowa program on rural to urban economies throughout the state from 1986 to 2012, utilizing extensive data from diverse sources. Quantitative analysis is supplemented by six case studies that provide a qualitative look at Main Street programs and how they benefit local communities.
The report was prepared by PlaceEconomics for Main Street Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Read it here [PDF].
In the News
Report: New Mexico Main Street Program Works
(February 5, 2014)
“There are 27 MainStreet programs throughout New Mexico and since its inception, $1 billion has been invested in the commercial districts for restoration and development. But often missed from the effort is the economic activity that happens after the construction is completed… Now the program has tried to document that with an economic impact report released last week by Donovan D. Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics… Rypkema was able to conclude that the program is partly responsible for expanding the jobs base in many of the small communities. ‘There’s significantly greater job creation in restoration than new construction… And these are not jobs that can be shipped to Indonesia next month, they have to stay in New Mexico.’”
Santa Fe New Mexican
Historical District Too Big To Tackle All at Once, in Expert’s Opinion
(January 25, 2014)
“Rypkema believes historic preservation is, in and of itself, sustainable development. He pointed to numerous studies and examples from several U.S. cities he says back up his claim. He said rehabilitating historic buildings creates more jobs and income than new construction and many types of manufacturing and it often raises property values.”
The Montana Standard
“NM Above National Average for Main Street Program Growth”
(December 12, 2013)
“The New Mexico Main Street program, over 28 years, has leveraged millions of dollars in private investments and created several thousand jobs in the state, according to the report released Thursday morning at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce… The study was done by Donovan Rypkema of PlaceEconomics of Washington, D.C… The more telling numbers that show the success of the program, Rypkema said, are those that show the number of businesses opening in Main Street zones is more than double the national average and for every dollar put into the program, the state sees a $44.50 return on its investment.”
Albuquerque Business First
“A Lot of Tiny Pieces Lost”
(September 11, 2013)
“The question isn’t, ‘what we should demolish on this block,’ but, ‘what should we be focusing our energy on?’” said Cara Bertron, director of PlaceEconomics’ Rightsizing Cities Initiative. “Long-term thinking is critical. What will this neighborhood look like in 10 years? In 20 years? If you make decisions based on what’s going to happen in the next six months, it’s just going to be a mess in six months and the city won’t be any better off.”
Making Places People Like
(July 15, 2013)
“Nearly 800 civic leaders attended a recent placemaking conference sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Quality Communities. Speaking at the conference, Donovan Rypkema debunked several myths about preserving old buildings. He says studies show the older structures are not necessarily less energy efficient than newer construction. Rypkema also reports government investment into preservation provides a significant return for the public.”
Study Shows Economic Development Value of Historic Preservation
(June 25, 2013)
“Preserving historic buildings and sites creates jobs and increases property values, according to a study released Monday by the Utah Heritage Foundation. The study, conducted by Washington, D.C., real estate and economic development consulting firm PlaceEconomics, found that 7,313 jobs were created annually directly or indirectly by the heritage portion of Utah’s tourism industry. In addition, 4,969 total jobs were created between 1990 and 2012 using federal or state historic tax credits, according to the report. ‘What was really powerful was all of the job creation done in historic preservation activity using either the federal or the state historic tax credits,’ PlaceEconomics principal Donovan Rypkema said. ‘This is a very well-paid, labor-intensive activity.’”
Heritage Preservation Brings $1B to Utah Economy
(June 22, 2013)
“Heritage and history are a billion-dollar business in Utah, according to a new study. Heritage tourism has brought more than $1 billion to Utah’s coffers, with $717 million in direct and indirect spending by visitors to heritage sites and special events; and another $350 million in invested taxpayer funds that stayed in Utah rather than being sent to Washington because of projects that used the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit… ‘Our goal is to determine the direct and indirect benefits of historic preservation in Utah,’ Utah Heritage Foundation director Kirk Huffaker said. ‘We think the study hit the mark, and the findings will be very interesting to individuals who are concerned with preservation’s impact.’”
Read more news at In the News.