Recast Your City
6 x 9
6 x 9
Too many U.S. cities and towns have been focused on a model of economic development that relies on recruiting one big company (such as Amazon), a single industry (usually in technology), or pursuing other narrow or short-term fixes that are inequitable and unsustainable. Some cities and towns were changing, even before the historic retail collapse brought on by COVID-19. They started to shift to a new economic model that works with the community to invest in place in an inclusive and thoughtful way, with short-term wins that build momentum for long-term growth. A secret ingredient to this successful model is small-scale manufacturing.
In Recast Your City: How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing, community development expert Ilana Preuss explains how local leaders can revitalize their downtowns or neighborhood main streets by bringing in and supporting small-scale manufacturing. Small-scale manufacturing businesses help create thriving places, with local business ownership opportunities and well-paying jobs that other business types can’t fulfill.
Preuss draws from her experience working with local governments, large and small and illuminates her recommendations with real-world examples. She details her five-step method for recasting your city using small-scale manufacturing: (1) light the spark (assess what you can build on and establish goals); (2) find and connect (get out of your comfort zone and find connectors outside of your usual circles); (3) interview (talk to people and build trust); (4) analyze (look for patterns and gaps as well as what has not been said); and (5) act (identify short-term actions to help build long-term change). This work is difficult and sometimes uncomfortable, but necessary and critical for success. Preuss supports and inspires change by drawing from her work in cities from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Columbia, Missouri, to Fremont, California.
In Recast Your City, Preuss shows how communities across the country can build strong local businesses through small-scale manufacturing, reinvest in their downtowns, and create inclusive economic opportunity. Preuss provides tools that local leaders in government, business, and real estate as well as entrepreneurs and advocates in every community can use.
"This book is a voice for economic development in places ready to build something new. It helps cities identify small businesses looking to scale, gives cities a new way to connect them to needed resources, and invites investors to be a part of something bigger."
Sandy Dunbeck, Interim Director of High Point Economic Development and Director of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance
"Ilana’s book is a treasure for everyone who loves their city. It provides an actionable roadmap to revitalize downtowns in the modern economy. Ilana shows that by lifting up people who make things, and engaging the community to help, every city can generate impressive results. Recast Your City provides stories about how this approach has been successful in communities large and small."
Victor W. Hwang, Founder & CEO, Right to Start
"Recast Your City reminds us that every community is full of magic, but we practitioners often fall short on imagination and inclusion. Preuss guides us to let go of antiquated economic development norms to celebrate these special places. If you follow her lead to honor the charm of your community, the possibilities to boost local pride and economies are endless."
Yonina M. Gray, Director of External Relations, Reinvestment Fund
"Ilana Preuss dramatically illustrates how a critical-but-traditional part of cities can be revitalized and act as a catalyst to transform a community. This book outlines practical suggestions on how to re-imagine a vision for communities willing to reach for the future rather than maintain the status quo. A must read for everyone who cares about their community."
Tom Murphy, Senior Fellow, Urban Land Institute and former Mayor of Pittsburgh
"Preuss totally hits the nail on the head with her critique of misguided American economic development practices that favor chasing big businesses over cultivating small ones, that favor big real estate deals over smaller-scale investments in downtowns and neighborhoods, and that have left millions of people on the sidelines. She makes a powerful argument for the tremendous potential of small-scale manufacturers to transform economies through incremental, inclusive growth. Our communities would be much healthier and more equitable places if this book were required reading for all elected officials and economic development professionals."
Kennedy Smith, Senior Researcher, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and former director, National Main Street Center
Chapter 1: What it Means to Recast Your City
Chapter 2: Why We Need a New Economic Development Model
Chapter 3: A Stronger Economic Development Model with Small-Scale Manufacturing
Chapter 4: Five Steps to Recast Your City
Chapter 5: Step 1: Light the Spark
Chapter 6: Step 2: Find and Connect with New People
Chapter 7: Step 3: Start the Conversation and Get Great Information from Your Interviews
Chapter 8: Step 4: Analyze the Input and Understand What it All Means
Chapter 9: Step 5: Be Impatient and Act Now
About the Author
Calling all Baltimoreans: Join us for a book release party and panel discussion about the role of craft manufacturing in urban placemaking!
Most local economic development strategies do not specifically focus on how to build a more racially inclusive community of business owners, address our urban-rural divide of access to resources, or engage in the detailed elements about how to invest in the infrastructure these business owners need to survive and grow. As we rebuild from the pandemic, while millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds flow to our cities and towns, this moment holds a unique opportunity to make sure that more people benefit moving forward.
Working with small-scale manufacturing businesses is one concrete way to take action and start making changes immediately to build a more inclusive local economy without needing to wait for some big, long-term strategy. Join this event to learn about small-scale manufacturing businesses, their benefit to your local economy, how to work with these businesses to immediately start building a more equitable local economy, and how to use this method to improve local economic development programs to better support diverse business owners in the future.
Community development expert Ilana Preuss offers an important book for our times, explaining how local leaders can revitalize their downtowns or main streets by bringing in and supporting small-scale manufacturing. These businesses offer well-paying jobs and support thriving places with local business ownership. Preuss will be interviewed by attorney and urbanist Dan Slone about her new book, Recast Your City.
This webinar is available for 1 AICP continuing education credit if viewed live as well as 1 CNU-A continuing education credit if viewed live or recorded.
Many cities and towns have used a model of economic development that relies on recruiting large companies, a single industry or other narrow fixes to create jobs and stimulate development. Recently, another model based on investing in place and supporting small-scale, local operations has emerged and is creating success across the country.
Join the Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network at 1 p.m., Friday, October 15, as Ilana Preuss demonstrates how communities can build strong local businesses through small-scale manufacturing, reinvesting in their downtowns, and creating inclusive economic opportunities. She will share tools that local leaders in government, business and real estate, as well as entrepreneurs and advocates in every community, can use. She'll discuss her book Recast Your City.
Participants of the live webinar are eligible for 1.5 AICP CM credits.