Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

January 2002


Reprinted from Journal of the American Planning Association, Volume 68, Issue 1, January 2002, pages 5-21.

The author, Dr. Eugenie L. Birch, asserts her right to include this material in ScholarlyCommons@Penn.


Many American cities are experiencing a rise in the number of residents in their downtowns. This phenomenon has deep roots but is extremely fragile. Six approaches to developing downtown housing dominate the arrangements. The public and private sectors have cooperated in many ways to attract this type of investment. Downtown housing, however, is only part of the larger puzzle of urban revitalization and metropolitan growth. Many questions regarding the nature of downtown land uses, including the relationship between housing and employment, remain. This article presents statistical evidence regarding downtown housing for 45 cities and outlines the approaches many have employed to capture these housing units. It also demonstrates the difficulty of defining a city's downtown.



Date Posted: 19 September 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.