Countdown to Forefront

Countdown to Forefront

A screen shot of the new site.

We’re almost there. One week to go before we re-launch our website and launch a new series of weekly, long-form, in-depth stories about cities.

We thank you — particularly our subscribers and donors — for your patience. You will be getting an email this week about how to log in to Forefront to read Monday’s big story.

What’s our first story about? In February, California Gov. Jerry Brown dismantled the redevelopment agencies that drove urban revitalization projects across the state, effectively killing the country’s largest redevelopment program. Writer Josh Stephens takes a close look at the politics that brought the agencies to their deathbed and tells the history of the controversial, if much-imitated, method of funding blight clearance and redevelopment. Using the cities of Oakland and Emeryville as examples, Stephens explores the efficacy of redevelopment efforts and the financing tool that powered them, Tax Increment Financing. He examines the public cost of diverting tax revenue for private projects and raises critical questions about government’s vague definition of blight. For anyone paying attention to how government funds urban revitalization, this story provides key insights into California’s ongoing conundrum and the future of redevelopment policy.

The piece is sponsored by the American Planning Association and launches in the midst of the APA’s annual conference in Los Angeles — where we are coincidentally hosting a launch party for Forefront.

Diana Lind is the former executive director and editor in chief of Next City.

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Tags: philadelphiacultureurban planningcaliforniajerry brown

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