Resilient Cities in a Transforming State: Local Visions of Place Making in Arizona

In this report, NLC seeks to identify public leadership roles necessary to build more sustainable and resilient communities, particularly in the face of cyclical volatility in the real estate and housing markets. The content is drawn from a Metropolitan Leadership Forum in Phoenix, convened on February 21, 2013.

PhoenixParticipants at this forum described the challenges facing communities around the state in areas from housing and economic development to a lack of support for local priorities from state leaders. The group also explored a number of possible solutions to these challenges, as well as the role of local officials and local governments in advancing these solutions. This report summarizes the discussion and findings from the forum and includes three case studies based on material presented by those in attendance. The concluding section offers recommended action steps for policy makers and community leaders.

Action steps include:

  • Mobilize a coalition of city officials and community stakeholders, and use that coalition for public education and for promoting policy change at the state level on issues related to place making, transit, education and a diversified economy; 
  • Focus on strategies that deliver a more diversified local and regional economy; 
  • Invest in educational excellence in order to attract both new families and jobs to the local economy; and 
  • In conjunction with investments in education, make the necessary investments in healthy children, safe streets, stable housing and vibrant neighborhoods.

This publication is part of a comparative research project on resilient cities and regions during which National League of Cities hosted groups of federal, state and local leaders in the cities of Lansing, Michigan, and Phoenix, Arizona, over a two-year period (2011- 2013). The focus of the project was housing, home prices and home mortgage foreclosures before, during and after the most recent recession (the period between 2007- 2011).

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