At the heart of any thriving community are its historic resources and the public transportation that enhances access to them. Americans are increasingly focused on how to bring these two elements together so that city centers and residential areas are walkable and workable.
The Returning City: Historic Preservation and Transit in the Age of Civic Revival examines how decisions about public transportation, land development and redevelopment, and historic preservation have complemented one another in dozens of communities nationwide. It demonstrates that transit and historic preservation can work together to revitalize communities of all sizes, restoring urban or suburban cores and making full use of those centers to help metropolitan areas grow sustainably.
This study illustrates how many different places can benefit by connecting historic preservation and transit. It shows how classic rail terminals such as Boston's South Station can be transformed into intermodal transportation centers that facilitate movement, and it documents how rehabilitating those stations encourages the kind of economic development needed to sustain transit and attract new riders. By looking at areas like Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver, The Returning City underscores the value of the large stock of historic commercial buildings that typically exist in downtowns, particularly those once served by rail. The report also examines the historic neighborhoods immediately adjacent to downtown in cities like San Francisco, Cleveland, and Chicago, highlighting methods that support rather than undermine community preservation and transit-oriented development.
Funding for The Returning City came from the Federal Transit Administration, and the final report benefited greatly from the research of the Great American Station Foundation, now known as Reconnecting America.
- The Returning City: Historic Preservation and Transit in the Age of Civic Revival—Part 1 (pdf)
- The Returning City: Historic Preservation and Transit in the Age of Civic Revival—Part 2 (pdf)