Mark Alan Hughes and Elise Harrington, with the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design, look to Philadelphia's recent experiences in leveraging the city's vacant parcels and existing building stock, and find examples of how cities around the world might turn their liabilities into drivers of economic development.
"Unlocking value from legacy assets is an emerging organizing strategy for metros across the country and around the globe," the authors say. "The inventory of physical assets from the accumulation of fixed and durable capital is one source of legacy. But legacy assets also come in the form of workforce demographics, jurisdictional competence, and leadership culture. These assets can harbor hidden value that, once unlocked, can accelerate a metropolitan agenda in unexpected ways."