The City After Abandonment (Margaret Dewar and June Manning Thomas, Editors, University of Pennsylvania Press) is a collection of essays from top urban planning experts focusing on policy and planning issues related to three questions: what are cities becoming after abandonment? How did they get here? What should abandoned areas of cities become? By suggesting an urban design scheme for shrinking cities, the books lays out a strategy for policymakers and planners to approach the future through processes and ideas that differ from those in growing cities.
The book features a chapter by Metropolitan Institute Interim Director, Joe Schilling, and former MI research assistant, Raksha Vasudevan, titled The Promise of Sustainability Planning in the Regeneration of Shrinking Cities. Schilling and Vasudevan assessed formulas for addressing vacancy and abandoned urban lots by examining the sustainability plans of Cleveland, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. They suggest that well-designed sustainability plans would establish strong policy connections between the unique physical, social, environmental and economic challenges that confront many distressed communities by developing new urban regeneration elements. A comprehensive, collaborative, and coordinated sustainability planning framework could establish stronger policy and programmatic connections between vacant property reclamation, green jobs, and sustainable reuse, rebuilding city and civic capacity. Such framework would not only expedite and enhance legacy cities regeneration efforts, but position these communities for a more sustainable, low carbon future.