Land Banking as a Tool for the Economic Redevelopment of Older Industrial Cities
Urban communities of the Northeast and Midwest, so-called older industrial cities, continue to struggle with the economic redevelopment of their downtown areas, facing the challenges of a declining urban industrial base, suburban flight of businesses and residents, and blighted and abandoned properties. The most recent shockwave for many cities has been the foreclosure crisis, in which previously stable neighborhoods have seen sharp increases in foreclosures and vacancy rates as a result of sub-prime mortgages. Policy makers have struggled to formulate innovative responses to ameliorate the current economic meltdown. Congress responded with the passage of omnibus economic stimulus legislation, including the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA) and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), which include provisions to boost economic productivity, create jobs, and forestall the continuing decline in the housing market. Some states, counties, and cities faced with the challenges of being older industrial communities have pursued an additional and unique path for economic redevelopment with marked success: land banking.