Legacy Cities, Post-Pandemic

The question of how the pandemic and all of its corresponding crises will alter the future of cities and planning has persisted since March. This article rightfully focuses those large, challenging questions of the Legacy Cities of the United States.

September 24, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

irishtown bend

Tim Evanson / Flickr

Jason Segedy writes about the future of Legacy Cities in the Post-Covid world, generating ideas based on information gathered during 15 hours of interviews with practitioners working on-the-ground in municipal government and community development in ten cities located in the Great Lakes region.

"There has been a lot of speculation about what the events of the past six months will mean for American cities in the future," writes Segedy to introduce the article. "Although most of the legacy cities of the Great Lakes region have been spared some of the most dramatic social and economic disruptions that have roiled their bigger coastal counterparts, their future, too, is unclear, particularly in the longer-term."

From the interviews, Segedy identifies three themes and eschews the notion of a one-size-fits all answer to the question of what will happen to Legacy Cities as a result of the pandemic. The themes, with a lot more detail provided in the source article, read as follows: 1) moving beyond the "eds and meds" economy, 2) the enduring importance of place, and 3) the advantages and disadvantages of smaller scale.

For an example of the kind of analysis that Segedy provides for each of these themes, the article includes a discussion of the pre-existing concerns about the "eds and meds" economic development model (as also documented in Alan Mallach's book The Divided City), before noting the struggles that both universities and healthcare institutions have encountered during the pandemic, and the likelihood that both sectors will face significant disruption over the next decade.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 in Economic Innovation Group


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