Did Central Cities Come Back?

July 01, 2003

Funding: Fannie Mae Foundation

Summary: During the late 1990s, commentators frequently heralded the comeback of America’s cities. This project examined the extent to which cities that were distressed in the 1980s could be said to have “come back” by the year 2000. It then modeled the economic and social structural determinants of city performance between 1980-2000 and identified those cities that performed significantly better or worse than the model would have predicted. Finally, it speculated on the reasons for these divergent performances – and particularly whether city or state policy could have played a role - and suggested a strategy for pursuing research to test these speculations. A paper, “Have Central Cities Come Back” was presented at the 2004 Urban Affairs Association Conference in Washington, DC on April 2, 2004.