The ability of smaller communities to leverage their strengths and position themselves as attractive places to live, work and invest is explored in a new Urban Land Institute (ULI) publication, Reaching for the Future: Creative Finance for Smaller Communities.

The report, co-written by ULI Senior Resident Fellow Maureen McAvey and ULI Senior Resident Fellow Tom Murphy, was discussed today during ULI's Spring Meeting in Philadelphia. Reaching for the Future highlights examples of leadership in urban and suburban communities that demonstrate the use of innovative partnerships and financing to gain a competitive edge. Six case studies are profiled: East Liberty in Pittsburgh; City Center in Greenville, South Carolina; the downtown of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Orland Park, Illinois, outside of Chicago; Over-The-Rhine in Cincinnati; and Sugar Land, Texas, near Houston.

"Every community is buffeted by global and national economic forces…Every community has a choice: to react and manage the effects of those forces or be proactive and decide what type of community it wants to be, based on its strengths. A community's ability to change its trajectory begins with intentionality, the point at which a community decides to become something other than what it has been traditionally," says the report. It lists a set of "ingredients" that must be in place for a successful transformation:

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