Innovative investment strategies are capable of changing the way housing moves into the future and the way we think about urban design. Plus, these five successful programs are low cost.

Yesterday we shared five ways in which federal infrastructure spending is making cities poorer. That piece included this observation:

What we have not figured out -- and what we won't figure out with another flood of federal infrastructure spending -- is how to translate maintenance into growth. How do we go out and fill potholes and fix leaking pipes and have that result in additional wealth in our neighborhoods? This is a daunting challenge that requires us to rethink -- from bottom to top -- how we develop our places. We need to modernize our zoning codes, building standards, housing incentives, insurance programs, etc. There are a lot of people trying to do this, but they get cast aside every time the federal gravy train rolls into town.

Here are some of the low cost initiatives that every city across the country should prioritize.

1. The Better Block
2. Incremental Development Alliance
3. Oswego Renaissance Association
4. Economic Gardening
5. Small Change

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