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The Small City: Reconsidered, And Ready to Be Sustainable

Catherine Tumber writes in defense of the small city, long neglected in policy and revitalization, but poised to be an excellent resource for sustainable living.

"That is too bad. Smaller cities have idiosyncratic charms of their own–worthy of sustained attention and renewal. And, fortuitously, they have a distinctive and vital role to play in the work of the new century: small cities will be critical in the move to local agriculture and the development of renewable energy industries. These tasks will almost certainly require a dramatic rethinking of land–use policy, and small cities have assets that large cities lack. Their underused or vacant industrial space and surrounding tracts of farmland make them ideal sites for sustainable land-use policies, or "smart growth."

Yet current urban planning models offer little guidance on how we might begin to make those changes. Nor, until recently, has there been a national forum that matches smaller–city renewal initiatives to national needs. The Revitalizing Older Cities Congressional Task Force, formed just last year, held its first national summit (organized by the Northeast–Midwest Institute) in mid–February. Local governments and advocates of eco–sustainability must build on this new conversation for they have a shared stake in the future."

Full Story: Small, Green and Good

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