• "I think everyone in the neighborhood is tired," said Patricia
Montgomery. Montgomery and others are tired of seeing
their neighborhood look the way it does. Trees are still
down, homes have been abandoned. While many are
rebuilding, others are not and Montgomery says lately it
doesn't seem like a whole lot of work is being done. "I
understand it's going to take a while to get stuff done but
when you look out your house everyday and you see trees
just laying, dead trees just laying there it makes you like,
I'm so sick of this," said Montgomery. "I'm willing to get out
there and help. My neighbors, I'm sure there are willing to
get out there and help but we don't know where to start."
• “it is a plan than we can use as a guide as we
go back to restoring our community to not just
the way it was, but better than it was before.”-
Mayor William Bell
• ‘Greater Pratt Partnership’
Birmingham R/UDAT Outcomes
• $8 million in federal funds within 2
• June 2012 – TIGER Grant of $10
• “The coalition of communities and
organizations that have come together
behind this grant is incredibly
impressive. I think we all know we are
working in an environment of finite
resources, so from a federal
standpoint it is always extraordinarily
helpful to see a large commitment
from the local community, the private
and public sector and the region as a
whole behind one project.” – Federal
• 2013: another $17 million in federal
community block grants
Most Communities Today
“If we can just get that
one, big, transformational
investment done, it will
change everything for us.”
[years of effort…no visual
progress during this
The Snowball Effect
“a figurative term for a process
that starts from an initial state
of small significance and builds
upon itself, becoming larger
and faster at every stage”
Applied to a community, this is
a transformational principle…
Port Angeles, Washington
• Staff picked through
• Survey at Public
• Committee Review
1. Parking study in the downtown area.
2. Increase housing opportunity and multi‐use buildings in
3. Institute the use of form based codes rather than conventional
4. Remove the parking regulations in downtown and let the market
5. Return the Farmer's Market to the downtown area.
6. Signage and wayfinding system for pedestrian and vehicles.
7. Improve existing buildings (appearance, facades, etc. in downtown
8. Provide visitor information kiosks.
9. Create an entryway monument.
10. Create nodes / centers of key intersections.
What success looks like in Port
Port Angeles, WA 2009 Project: 2 months later, 43 buildings repainted with
volunteers and donated paint, (at least 3,500 volunteer hours, or roughly
$66,500 worth of donated labor) led to a façade improvement program, then
Catalyst for Action
• “I don’t think this is one of those things that
will sit on a shelf…this is about stimulating
thought about what could happen. Above all,
you have to be patient. When you see the
right things coming together – and you see
that in Newport – it’s cause for hope.” –Kevin
Dorn, Secretary of Commerce & Community
Development, State of Vermont
Newport – Two Years Later
• Civic “Attitude Adjustment”
– “When you have people working together, things
can happen and do happen. That’s the most
important change that has occurred – a change in
attitude. All of a sudden, nothing is impossible.” –
• 2011 – Newport receives Foreign Trade Zone status
• 2011 – Canadian manufacturing firm co-locates here
• 2011 – 2012 – Vermont biotech firm re-locates here
• 2012 – 2013 – South Korean biotech firm co-locates
• 2013 – Senior residential resort is built
• 2014 – Waterfront resort conference center opens
• 2014 – Re-development of blighted block on Newport’s
Newport 2.0: $250 Million in New Investments
a six-story commercial and residential
block -$70 million
Case Study - East Nashville, TN
• Tornado, 1998. One year later: “today many in East
Nashville feel that the tornado recovery is stalled.
”The long term recovery hasn’t been as fast or as
much as we’d hoped,“ says Lindsay Fairbanks, an East
Nashville resident and real estate agent. “Blue tarps
still flap in the wind. Recalcitrant insurance companies
and inadequate insurance coverage frustrate the
efforts of many to rebuild. East Nashville legend has it
that some absentee landlords pocketed their payoffs
and left for Europe, or at least to Destin. As a result,
their damaged buildings were left behind to molder in
the rain. And those with the funds and the will to
build new structures on the vacant lots find
themselves faced with a suburban-style zoning code
more at home in Bellevue.”
• R/UDAT – 800 participants, transformative community
event that organized the neighborhood and aligned
• Rediscover East! Formed
• CDBG and HUD funds
• Kroger re-opened grocery stores
• Town Square urban design
• “The R/UDAT empowered the whole
community to identify a common
direction and form the partnerships –
and pools of capital – to make it a
reality. The most significant outcome
was the private investment that came
after the R/UDAT. Investors and
developers realized East Nashville’s
R/UDAT Impacts in large cities over
• San Francisco
• Portland (Pearl District)
• Seattle (Downtown housing)
• Denver (LoDo/16th Street
• Austin (Downtown
• Santa Fe (Railyard
• Process adaptation in
US, UK and across
• Crowdfunded first project – Celebration Bridge
• total amount of public and private dollars that have
been invested in the downtown has reportedly grown
from less than $1 million to more than $55 million/yr.
• In 2002, the San Angelo Area Foundation was created.
In the past decade, it has received more than $92
million in donations from more than 3,500 different
donors, and has distributed over $38 million in grants.
One of its recent grants, to the Performing Arts
Coalition, is part of a larger effort to raise $13.5 million
to convert an old Coca-Cola warehouse into the San
Angelo Performing Arts Center.
20 years later…
• “When I tell my younger friends about the part you
played in revitalizing our city, they think it's an urban
fairy tale: "Once upon a time, a group of architects,
planners and urban design experts from around the
nation volunteered to travel to San Angelo and work
day and night to find ways to change the future of the
city." – Rick Smith, San Angelo Times-Standard
• “You didn't reshape downtown by yourself, of course.
Many San Angeloans worked many years to transform
the Historic City Center. But you affirmed our ideas,
planted seeds and sketched a possible map for our
future. And you gave us hope. Back in 1992, your ideas
seemed like dreams. Now we are living those dreams.”
Every community has the potential to
develop the civic capacity for success
• Who do we need to have involved from the
beginning to ensure full-scale
• How can we ensure media saturation and buzz
for the event?
• How can we position civic organizations and
citizens for collective action immediately
following the event?
The planning department distilled the SDAT report into a checklist of implementation items. These lists were distributed at public meetings, which allowed the community members to indicate their own priorities. The PA Forward committee then took the community’s preferences and created a scheme for prioritization and implementation.
Just two weeks after the SDAT presented more than 30 recommendations, the Port Angeles Forward committee unanimously agreed to recommend 10 of those items for immediate action.
less than a month after the conclusion of the SDAT, the community joined together in an effort to revamp the entire downtown, starting with a physical face-lift. Community members donated paint and equipment, and residents picked up their paintbrushes to start the transformation.” During the first summer of implementation, over 43 buildings in the downtown received substantial upgrades, including new paint and other improvements. This effort led to a formal façade improvement program that extended the initiative exponentially. The city dedicated $118,000 in community development block grants for the effort, which catalyzed over $265,000 in private investment.
Port Angeles also implemented a signage and wayfinding program, which at last allowed them to capture some of those visitors who came to Port Angeles merely for its proximity to Victoria.
Newport was the last city in Vermont to achieve downtown designation from the state. It had some of the highest unemployment (double digits) in VT. They submitted an application to the RUDAT program because they decided that they were done being last, and were instead ready to be first. Newport hosted the first R/UDAT in state history. Hundreds of residents and stakeholders participated in the process.
Much like Port Angeles, Newport moved forward into implementation within days of the conclusion of the R/UDAT project. They held public meetings in which community members literally designed, crafted, and installed a new wayfinding and signage program.
Newport also took advantage of widespread community participation in the R/UDAT to engage citizens in code changes, designing a participatory process to create the first form-based code in the state. Again, the community members literally wrote the new code.
New investments include boutique hotels, a tasting center featuring regional agriculture, and a waterfront resort. The city also created the state’s first foreign trade zone, attracting a Korean biotechnology firm and other businesses.