University of Michigan Gateway Ford School


« Return to Public Sector Excellence awards listing 

CLOSUP Public Sector Excellence Database

Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah

The National League of Cities - 2009 - Award for Municipal Excellence (50,001 - 150,000)

Summary

The city of Savannah, Georgia began developing a neighborhood revitalization model that includes the human and financial capital necessary to revitalize distressed inner-city neighborhoods.  This model has become known as Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah. Core components included building partnerships, participatory planning, aggressive property maintenance, derelict and vacant property acquisition, housing, economic and infrastructure investment, and green, sustainable, design.

Description

Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah grew out of concern that many of Savannah’s poorer, inner-city, neighborhoods were in a downward spiral. These once thriving neighborhoods were, by the 1990s, in peril. An older generation of responsible residents and homeowners were dying without leaving Wills. As a result, heirs were unable to secure funds to repair homes. Without clear title, these homes were also unable to be sold. Additionally, able children of older residents were moving from childhood neighborhoods in search of new opportunities and living environments. Public housing communities built in the 1940s were also becoming obsolete and undesirable places to live. These and other societal events resulted in property falling into disrepair, becoming vacant and being demolished—if not the bulldozer, by neglect. Investment in many neighborhoods by residents, property owners and legitimate entrepreneurs came to a halt. This opened the door to a transient, less stable, population and to persons involved in the drug trade and other criminal activity.

Recognizing this problem, the City began developing a neighborhood revitalization model that includes the human and financial capital necessary to revitalize distressed inner-city neighborhoods. This model has become known as Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah. The first neighborhood selected to participate in the renaissance process was Cuyler-Brownsville. Initial planning occurred in the late 1990s with implementation beginning in 2000. Experiences gained planning and implementing the Cuyler-Brownsville revitalization initiative have been improved and adapted to other neighborhoods including Benjamin Van Clark, West Savannah and Savannah Gardens. Core and coordinated components of Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah include: building partnerships; participatory planning; aggressive property maintenance; derelict and vacant property acquisition; housing, economic and infrastructure investment; and green, sustainable, design.

Since 2000, Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah has utilized citizens, multiple partnerships, creative policies and a modest CDBG/HOME budget to leverage more than $150 million for housing and neighborhood improvements in three Savannah neighborhoods. It is also helping assemble another roughly $100 million investment for a fourth neighborhood. Neighborhood Renaissance Savannah has taken root in Savannah. It demonstrates that a committed and innovative local government can play a leading role in revitalizing distressed neighborhoods.

info info
Tags: Civic/Public Participation, Economic and Community Development, Finance, Pluralism, Diversity, Gender, and Inequality, Sustainability/Green Issues/Environment and Natural Resources





       closup@umich.edu  | 
735 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI. 48109-3091  | 
ph: 734-647-4091  | 
© 2014 Regents of the University of Michigan      
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy           University of Michigan