D Magazine contemplated the financial woes of Dallas, TX and recognized how typical they are:
Dallas certainly has its own, particular financial problems: a police and fire pension fund that is facing insolvency, the legacy of a bungled affordable housing policity that lost millions of federal dollars in the couch cushions. But the city’s huge infrastructure needs, which, as council member Lee Kleinman pointed out during a recent conversation about the upcoming bond election, are something that the city can’t cover in its general fund, aren’t unique to Dallas. Faced with having to shell out billions just to keep the streets from not deteriorating any further, Dallas can’t pay for its own maintenance and has to go into debt just to keep infrastructure status quo.
And so does the rest of America.
In Lancaster, plans are afoot to address neighborhood poverty in much the way Marohn recommends.
Huge investments over the past decade have decisively revived the city's downtown, but have been criticized for exacerbating inequality.
The report of Lancaster's Poverty Commission, released in December, calls for a multi-prong approach that creates "intentional, strategic connection between affordable housing development, economic development at the neighborhood level and workforce development."
Strong Towns gave a Curbside Chat in Lancaster three years ago and we're glad to see that the message shared during that presentation is still making an impact.
Virginia-based blog, Bacon's Rebellion, also commented on the applicability of Lafayette, LA's financial situation (as explained in our recent article "The Real Reason Your City Has No Money") for Virginia towns:
There is a solution to the problem, by the way, but it isn’t raising taxes, and it isn’t unleashing infrastructure spending in Washington — it’s changing the land- and infrastructure-intensive pattern of development commonly called suburban sprawl. A few localities in Virginia get it. But most will have no appetite to make the necessary changes until they reach a Lafayette-level of desperation. Too bad.
These are vital discussions for towns across America to be having. We urge you to take a minute to send one of these articles—"The Real Reason Your City Has No Money" and "Poor Neighborhoods Make the Best Investment"—to a local leader and have a discussion about its implications for your town.
(Top photo by Johnny Sanphillippo)