A Presidential Campaign Built on Rust Belt Revitalization

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is hoping to ride a track record of urban revitalization success to the Oval Office.

2 minute read

April 16, 2019, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


2020 Presidential Campaign

mayor Pete Buttigieg campaigns in Concord, New Hampshire earlier this month | MaverickPhotos / Shutterstock

Patrick Sisson analyzes the track of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who recently announced a campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.

Buttigieg's supporters often lionize him for helping to revive a dying town—a characterization many locals take issue with—or getting people to believe in South Bend again. But his impact on the northeast Indiana city, known by many as the current home of Notre Dame and the former home of Studebaker, has been a little more nuanced.

An analysis of his time in office does shows the millennial mayor adopting, and often successfully implementing, the contemporary strategies experts point to when advising locals on how to (re)build better urban communities. 

Sisson's analysis is organized in the following categories, with a lot more detail included in the article.

  • Placemaking and street redesign helped revitalize downtown
  • Turning vacant lots into new development
  • Building an economic base for the future

Planetizen is not endorsing Buttigieg’s candidacy for president, but continuing an ongoing effort to highlight the position of housing policy in the upcoming presidential election. Previous posts have focused on the campaign platforms of Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Corey Booker (D-New Jersey), and Kamala Harris (D-California).

Planetizen has been closely monitoring federal housing policy under the Trump administration, mostly organized under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development tag.

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