Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A case study example of massive revitalization failure

You'd think Niagara Falls, New York, would do pretty well from the standpoint of tourism-based revitalization.

Granted, the region had once been very successful industrially, but as the U.S.'s manufacturing base has declined--especially in upstate New York--many once successful cities struggle mightily to achieve a new way forward. Typically, cities with universities or tourist attractions are able to right themselves.

Niagara Falls, New York is an exception, even as Niagara Falls, Ontario--which didn't attempt an urban renewal-based revitalization program--continues to succeed, and yields the majority of tourist related economic development deriving from the Falls.

Businessweek has an article about the failure of Niagara Falls, New York, which leveled its downtown and its historic buildings in favor of "The Fall of Niagara Falls," while a few years ago, USA Today ran a story, "In Ontario, new reasons to fall for Niagara" on the success of Niagara Falls, Ontario. From the article:

"The Casino Niagara was the catalyst for a lot of the development you see going on now," Buckley says. In 1995, approximately 8 million tourists visited the region. Last year, that number reached 12 million to 13 million. Casino Niagara's draw last year? About 6.4 million, in what officials say was a down year.

The number of tourists may grow more than twofold to 30 million by 2016, predicts Joe Cordiano, Economic Development and Trade Minister for the province of Ontario. Not surprisingly, Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort is driving such expectations.

All those tourists, and many crossing through Niagara Falls, New York "to get to the other side." Note that DC tourism numbers are comparable to that of Niagara Falls, Ontario

This old postcard looking across to the American side of Niagara Falls shows a once bustling city.

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