Spring 2000
Fannie Mae Foundation

Recasting the image of a community is a potentially powerful tool to promote revitalization in distressed inner cities. While neighborhood leaders and redevelopment professionals struggle with the overriding tasks of earning community trust and participation, structuring real estate deals, raising money, and gaining political support, the challenge of turning around the community's image may be relegated to the sidelines. This article outlines strategies that can be used to recast a community's image and illustrates how such techniques have been used successfully. One of the primary strategies often used to change the perception of a neighborhood is giving it a new name that creates a positive image, possibly highlighting historic or positive elements in the community. Often, a logo is created to reinforce the name with a graphic image. Other reimaging techniques include packaging creatively the community's unique or historic assets, making highly visible physical improvements, and target marketing the neighborhood to carefully selected potential residents and merchants.

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