Legacy Cities

Conversation on Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities Continues

What is a “Legacy City”? Cleveland is often categorized as a “legacy city,” along with Detroit, Pittsburgh and other Rust Belt cities, but what does this mean? The American Assembly of Columbia University describes legacy cities as those with rich histories and assets but which have struggled to stay relevant in an ever-changing global economy. Like Cleveland, Legacy Cities have important cultural institutions and architecture but are experiencing population loss and challenges of aging infrastructure.

On December 8, 2015, the Preservation Rightsizing Network (PRN) released a new Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities, which presents a wide-ranging plan to address urban challenges by advancing new development while protecting communities’ cultural heritage. The Action Agenda lays out nine items to answer the question of how legacy cities should work to preserve the stories which make them legacy cities. These items center on three primary themes including shaping new approaches to preservation in legacy cities, adapting preservation tools and policies to meet the needs of legacy cities and supporting place-based collaboration.

Download the full Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities here.

The collaboration which produced the Action Agenda started in Cleveland in the spring of 2014 when CRS and the Levin College at Cleveland State University convened the first-ever conference on historic preservation on America’s Legacy Cities. A dynamic plenary gathering, twenty-four educational sessions and five tours were attended by approximately 275 individuals from 21 different states. The final convening of the conference was a workshop designed to define a collaborative agenda among the cities. The goal was to develop practical steps using preservation-based strategies to make our cities stronger as we move forward into the future. You can learn more about this workshop in the overview below.

Historic Preservation in America’s Legacy Cities Workshop Summary of Proceedings