Urban Revitalization in Small Cities across the Atlantic Ocean

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City centers and riverfronts across the Atlantic Ocean have undergone substantial transformation over the last two decades. This paper analyzes walk-only precincts and waterfront revitalization in two pairwise cases (PCs) of small city exemplars on two continents in locations at about the same latitude but separated by the Atlantic Ocean. The argument is twofold. First, to be fully effective, city center revitalization interventions need to be coordinated with appropriate institutional programs to create collaborative management opportunities among multiple civic and business agents. Second, multiple cultural offerings, environmental amenities, and pro-active leadership positionalities have contributed positively to the evolution of waterfront community economic redevelopment opportunities in riverfront locations. The methods involved multiple site visits to cities of various sizes on the Iberian Peninsula and the Northeast of the United States at different times during the last twenty years, extensive literature reviews and syntheses, data analyses, assessment of policy priorities, and interviews with employees in various economic sectors, business owners, residents, elected officials, planning professionals, and community leaders. Two of the main conclusions are that, to be fully effective, the public space interventions on the Iberian Peninsula had to be coordinated with appropriate regulatory and institutional programs to generate collaborations with multiple civic and business agents and that the Northeastern cities have attempted to revitalize their riverfronts by conserving water-based and urban historic assets and amenities from further erosion due to downpours and floods as well as socio-economic and cultural transformations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number639
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Jan 2024

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  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Northeast US
  • commercial urbanism
  • historic preservation
  • real estate redevelopment


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