Downtown Revitalization in Caguas, Puerto Rico Case Studies, Best Practices and Recommendations

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Downtown Revitalization in Caguas, Puerto Rico Case Studies, Best Practices and Recommendations
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1 online resource (86 p.)
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english
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Justiniano, Ivelisse
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University of Florida
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Degree:
Master's ( M.A.U.R.P.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Urban and Regional Planning
Committee Chair:
Blanco, Andre
Committee Co-Chair:
Jourdan, Dawn

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Subjects / Keywords:
decentralization -- downtown -- inner-city -- redevelopment -- urban-centers -- urban-redevelopment
Urban and Regional Planning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
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Urban and Regional Planning thesis, M.A.U.R.P.
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Abstract:
Urban centers or downtowns were the areas where the majority, if not all, the social and economic activities took place in the past. Almost everyone wanted to live in these centers but not everyone could afford it due to high land values. However, the changes in technology, personal automobile and socio-economic patterns over the years produced decentralization to the suburbs causing a decrease in population and businesses in the urban centers. This has caused decline in the vitality of downtowns. In order to reverse this decline, cities around the world have been using different strategies including changes to their planning policies. Some of the changes to their zoning codes try to promote economic development by attracting new uses to downtown. This thesis focuses in the city of Caguas, Puerto Rico and the practices and strategies being use to revitalize its urban center. The research examines best practices in downtown revitalization using case studies from other cities in North America that have been successful in re-energizing their downtown area. The question to be addressed is: “are the policies and revitalization practices in Caguas, Puerto Rico suitable to allow a successful revitalization of its downtown? The methodology used for this study consisted of case studies. Data was collected from government websites, census data, and field visits by the author. The analysis shows that revitalization practices in Caguas are not effective in increasing the urban center population and commerce. Findings and recommendations developed in this research will inform and help to enhance policies aimed at downtown revitalization.
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
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Statement of Responsibility:
by Ivelisse Justiniano.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.U.R.P.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local:
Adviser: Blanco, Andre.
Local:
Co-adviser: Jourdan, Dawn.
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RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2014-05-31

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1 DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION IN CAGUAS, PUERTO RICO CASE STUDIES, BEST PRACTICES AND RECOMMENDATIONS By IVELISSE JUSTINIANO A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE RE QUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012

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2 201 2 Ivelisse Justiniano

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3 I dedicate this dissertation to my loved ones, especially to my mom and dad for th e i r encouragement

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4 ACKNOWL EDGMENTS I would never have been able to finish my thesis without the guidance of my committee members, help from friends, and support from my family. I would like to acknowledge my committee members for their guidance and patience M y deepest gratitude is to my chair, Dr. Andrs Blanco for his constant support, motivation and caring. I would also like to thank my co chair Dr. Dawn Jo u rdan for her support and motivation. I would also like to thank my family for their support throughout this stage of my lif e I thank my for giving me the encouragement to pursue my goals and dreams during all my life who have been helping me unconditionally since I moved to Florida. I also thank Jany and Jamile fo r always caring about me and supporting all my decisions. I thank my long time best friend and sister Matilde who have been with me unconditionally no matter the distance To my grad school friends who have always been with me giving me support and cheerin g me up whenever I need it, especially Jessica, Gareth, Brittney and Mariana Most importantly, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Planning Office of the City of Caguas, Puerto Rico for giving me the opportunity to work with them as an intern, in particular; Carmen, Anilda, Arvin and Zaid for the ir help.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 12 2 BACKGROUND ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 16 Historical Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ 17 Urban Traditional Center ................................ ................................ ......................... 18 Present Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 20 Population and Housing ................................ ................................ ................... 20 Economy ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 22 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 23 3 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 30 Urban Renewal Programs ................................ ................................ ....................... 30 Downtown Revitalization ................................ ................................ ......................... 31 Vacant Land and Abandoned Property ................................ ................................ ... 32 Community Participation ................................ ................................ ......................... 34 Public Private Partnerships ................................ ................................ ..................... 34 Unaffordability and Gentrification ................................ ................................ ............ 35 Main Stre et Approach ................................ ................................ ............................. 36 Best Practices ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 38 4 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 41 Cities Selecti on and Analysis ................................ ................................ .................. 42 Caguas Downtown Site Information ................................ ................................ ........ 43 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 43 5 CASE STUDIES ANALYSIS ................................ ................................ ................... 45 Burlington, Vermont ................................ ................................ ................................ 45 History and Problems ................................ ................................ ....................... 45 Projects and Strategies ................................ ................................ .................... 46

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6 Business Development ................................ ................................ ..................... 48 City Policies ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 48 Transportation and Parking ................................ ................................ .............. 49 Housing ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 49 Impacts ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 50 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 51 Asheville, North Carolina ................................ ................................ ........................ 51 History and Problems ................................ ................................ ....................... 51 Projects and Strategies ................................ ................................ .................... 52 Impacts ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 55 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 55 Greenville, South Carolina ................................ ................................ ...................... 56 History and Problems ................................ ................................ ....................... 56 Projects, Tools and Strategies ................................ ................................ .......... 56 Transportation ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 57 Housing ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 58 Financial Incentives ................................ ................................ .......................... 59 Impacts ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 59 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 60 6 ANALYSIS OF CAGUAS ................................ ................................ ........................ 61 Introductory Rem arks ................................ ................................ .............................. 61 Revitalization Plans ................................ ................................ ................................ 61 Economic Development ................................ ................................ .................... 62 Developm ent Incentives ................................ ................................ ................... 63 Business Development ................................ ................................ ..................... 64 Transportation and Parking ................................ ................................ .............. 64 Housing ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 65 7 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 69 Principles ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 69 Characteristics ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 71 Caguas Policies Problem ................................ ................................ ........................ 73 Recommendations ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 74 8 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 77 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 80 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 86

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 7 1 Downtown Revitalization Best Practices for Small Cities ................................ .... 76

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 A erial Image of the City of Caguas in 1937 ................................ ........................ 24 2 2 Caguas Downtown Delimitation ................................ ................................ .......... 25 2 3 Population from 1960 to 2010. A) City of Ca guas and B) Caguas Downtown .... 26 2 4 Areas of major commercial activity within the urban center ................................ 27 2 5 Vacant and abandoned buildi ngs in the urban center ................................ ......... 28 2 6 Shopping Centers Surrounding the CUT ................................ ............................ 29 6 1 Major Developments in the CUT. A) Lincoln Center Plaz a, B) HIMA Medical Center, C) Laboratorio Borinquen and D) Gatsb y Center ................................ ... 66 6 2 Location of the Four Major Developments in the CUT ................................ ........ 67 6 3 Parking Facilities in the CUT ................................ ................................ .............. 68

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9 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S ARPE Regulations and Permits Administration ( Administracin de Reglamentos y Permisos ) ARRA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act CBD Central Business D istrict CDBG C om munity Development Block Grants CRA Community Redevelopment Agencies CRP Community Revitalization Partnership CUT Urban Traditional Center ( Centro Urbano Tradicional ) HUD US Department of Housing and Urban Development NC North Carolina NTH P National Trust for Historic Preservation ODECUT Downt own Economic Development Office ( Oficina de Desarrollo Econmico del Centro Urbano Tradicional ) PACUT Urban Traditional Center Area Plan ( Plan de Rehabilitacin del Centro Urbano Tradicional ) PR Puerto Rico SC South Carolina US United States VT Vermont

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10 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Pla nning DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION IN CAGUAS, PUERTO RICO CASE STUDIES, BEST PRACTICES AND RECOMMENDATIONS By Ivelisse Justiniano May 2012 Chair: Andrs G. Blanco Co chair: Dawn Jo u rdan Major: Urban and Regional Planning Urban centers or downtowns were th e areas where the majority, if not all, the social and economic activities took place in the past. Almost everyone wanted to live in these centers but not everyone could afford it due to high land values. However, the change s in technology, personal automo bile and socio economic patterns over the years produced decentralization to the suburbs causing a decrease in population and businesses in the urban centers This has caused decline in the vitality of downtowns. In order to reverse this decline, cities ar ound the world have been us ing different strategies including changes to their planning polic ies. Some of the changes to their zoning code s try to promote economic development by attracting new uses to downtown This thesis focuses in the city of Caguas, Puerto Rico and the practices and strategies being use to revitalize its urban center. The research examine s best practices in downtown re vitalization using case studies from other cities in North America that have been successful in re energizing their do wntown area The question to be

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11 addressed is : suitable to allow a successful revitalization of its downtown? The methodology used for this study consisted of case studies. Data was colle cted from government websites, census data, and field visits by the author. The analysis shows that revitalization practices in Caguas are not effective in increasing the urban center population and commerce. Findings and recommendations developed in this research will inform and help to enhance policies aimed at downtown revitalization.

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12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Across America many urban centers have been in decline while suburban areas have been growing and prospering This decaying process started aroun d the 1960s and 1970s Some of the causes that contributed to this process were the construction of housing and commercial developments in the suburbs and the acquisition of the personal automobile Other events that also contributed to the decline of down town were the well intentioned programs of urban renewal developed by the federal government. With the urban renewal projects many neighborhoods and historic buildings in different downtowns were knocked down affecting the aesthetics of the area. Urban cen ters have been forgotten and neglected by many municipalities for decades. This decentralization represents several problems for cities ; fo r example, residents and business es relocating in the suburbs has caused decline in property value and loss of tax re venue s in the urban centers Some common i ndicators of decaying urban center s are : vacant lots, abandoned buildings crime jobs relocation, hi gh unemployment rates, and poverty concentration among others Downtowns that are struggling have also been char acterized by poor infrastructure and low economic activity. Because of these poor conditions, many cities are now trying to revitalize their downtowns. Revitalization, redevelopment, and urban renewal are common terms often used to describe improvement eff orts in the urban center. Some have been successful while others are still trying to find a way to overcome these problems. City governments have the challenge of attracting new business and developers to the area while trying to

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13 persuade existing ones to stay. The fact remains that in order to successfully revitalize a downtowns effort is needed by the city, c ommunity and businesses This means that public private partnerships are essential. Moreover, it needs their commitment and support. It is fundamen tal that before starting a revitalization plan, the urban center needs for decision making. Then the stakeholders can establish goals and missions to help with the pla nning process and setting strategies. These should be based on realistic established. There is plenty of l iterature based on downtown revitalization issues Case studies describing many strategies for successful economic development, public private partnerships, finance tools and organizational structures are always being discussed from the classroom to the government offices. However the majority of findings and strategies that are more widely known are based on experiences from large urban areas While small and big cities may have common elements there are also many others that set them apart. Because of this, it should be said that t here is no silver bullet when it c omes to down town revitalization G of change. Cooperation from the community, public and private organizations, comm ercial entities and government agencies at all levels are highly required to be successful.

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14 Revitalization also requires adaptation instead of trying to directly adopt and implement programs that have worked in other cities (Burayidi, 2001). Cities working with revitalization projects to improve their downtowns should perform an assessment of the area, its population the infrastructure, accessibility and an analysis of the market area for a better understanding of their territory Cities should need innovation in order to capitalize their community assets. Furthermore, small cities should unde rstand their competitive advantage or a specific market within their geographical area. This research examines and evaluates the current efforts of t he C ity of Caguas, Puerto Rico and its program to revitalize its downtown area based on a series of best p ractices derived from the literature and case studies of small cities in North America that have been successful in re energizing their downtown area s were selected based on factors such as population less than 150,000 an d a One of the benefits of revitalizing a downtown is the unique opportunity it brings in preserving the historical and cultural characteristics of a city. The big question is ho w it should be done? This and other related questions will be answered throughout this study. Chapter 2 provides a back ground of the history of Caguas, its downtown and the present context of the city. Chapter 3 examines the literature relevant to downtow n revitalization. Chapter 4 outlines the methodology used to complete this research. Chapter 5 presents three case studies of small cities that after many years of working hard to revitalize their downtowns found success with their approaches. Chapter 6 pr ovides an analysis of the current practices and strategies used by the city of Caguas to revitalize its urban center. Chapter 7 presents a discussion about the best practices

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15 found through cases studies and the literature and a comparison of which ones ar e being used in Caguas it also includes some recommendations Chapter 8 presents a conclusion that tie together the theories presented in the literature review with what have happened in Caguas. Also, suggest additional strategies and tools that can be us ed in the city of Caguas to improve their approach to downtown revitalization.

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16 CHAPTER 2 BACKGROUND The downtown that serves as the focus of this thesis is located in the C ity of Caguas, Puerto Rico. Caguas is one of the biggest cities in the island of P uerto Rico and is located in the central eastern region approximately 20 miles from capital, San Juan According to the 2010 Census the city of Caguas had an estimated population of 142,893 inha bitants which represents a 1.7% increase since the year 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 c ) Caguas has an advantage that only few cities in the island have in that it is an autonomous municipality, meaning that it is an independently incorporated city and can take over different responsibilities from the central government (Collins et al., 2006) It was o n August 30, 1991, when the central government of Puerto Rico approved law Num. 81 of Autonomous Municipalities (Santana et al 2007) This law simplified the process of permit requirements for construc tion and development projects allowing municipalit ies to sidestep the never ending lists for project approval from the Puerto Rico Planning Board and the Administration of Permits and Regulations (ARPE) (Collins et al 2006, p.300). Eight years later, on July 30, 1998 Caguas became an Autonomous Municipality, acquiring the faculty of adopting their own land use plans and the responsibilities of enforcing zoning regulations and managing the permitting process (Collins et al 2006). Since th e election of a new mayor in 1997 Hon. William Miranda Marn, and the implementation of the Autonomous Municipalities law in 1998 Caguas economic base began to improve leading the City to various successful economic development projects (Santana et al 2007) However, the urban center of the city which is an area with a

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17 long and rich history did n o t enjoy the same fate. What once was a thriving area began to lose commerce and population and was afflicted by abandonment, crime and poverty. To understand the problems that the urban center of Caguas faced and is still facing, and recognize the potential benefits that revitalization efforts can have there it is important to know the history of the area and what is its current situation. Historical Overview Founded in 1775, the city of Caguas sustained a compact form for many years during its growth and development (Figure 2 1) The urban traditional center of Caguas (hereafter known by its acronym in Spanish CUT) urban design i s an example of the Hispanic American model intr oduced by the Spanish during the colonization era On the first decades of the 20th century the CUT area was surrounded by sugar snuff and coffee plantations ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 ). Th e presence of these markets made the CUT become a popula r area for the establishment of small businesses and residences. Most of the urban fabric of the CUT was built between 1900 and 1930, when the town leaders began the construction of public facilities. With the improvements in infrastructure and the estab lishment of large factories such as the American Tobacco Co. and several sugarcane plants, the population and commercial activity in the CUT continued to grow within the first established area ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 ) It was not until 1908 whe n the first urban extension of the CUT Campo Alegre, began to be built T he extension of the road network spurred the construction of more neighborhoods until 1930 when the rest of the CUT district was finally established ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 20 05 )

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18 Along with the urban expansion during the fifties and sixties began the urban renewal projects that impacted the CUT. In the north and south areas of the CUT, the project La Placita Renewal Project removed large sections of the historic part of the c ity to create space for new developments that did not integrate with the traditional urban fabric of the city ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 ) The population growth continued to rise during the sixties. It is estimated that between 1961 and 1968, 12 978 new houses were built and that the population increased from 60, 000 in the late 1960s to 125 000 people in the 1980s ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 ) To accommodate this large population numerous housing projects prompted in the rural area s, thereby increasing the urban sprawl and changing the urban form of Caguas. Investment in housing developments, shopping centers and new industries occurred in a large scale in the suburbs while affect ing the CUT which suffered a major population and com mercial decline. Urban Traditional Center T oday, t he CUT is an area of 197 acres that is localized (Santana et al 2007). The oldest blocks are organized around the public square Plaza Palmer, and from there as shown in Figure 2 2, the CUT area is delimited by three avenues to the north is Jos Mercado Avenue and south and west is Rafael Cordero Avenue land use plan because the structures within this ar ea are historic and have the architectural and urban characteristics of the Spanish era Recognizing the continuous decline of the CUT the local government hired different consultants to conduct studies to assess the socioeconomics and the infrastructure c onditions in the urban center as an effort to address the poor conditions

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19 of the area The first study of the area was conducted in 1982 by a private consulting company Basora & Rodrguez Associates In 1990, another consulting firm prepared a report titl in Spanish as Rehabilitacin Econmica del Centro Urbano Tradicional de Caguas). By C entral B usiness District ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 Memorial 3). I n 1997 governor in July 28, 1998. That same year, an American consulting firm, DiMambro and Associates Inc., completed a study of the urban area titled Caguas 20/20: Strategic Urban Design Study for the Urban Zone of Caguas (Santana et al., 2007) This study established a planning framework to integrate the CUT with the surrounding urban area. The study in cluded these recommendations: I dentify and restor e buildings and sites of historical value ; Improve the street infrastructure to facilitate cars and pedestrian traffic, improve lighting conditions, and provide more parking; Restoration of the urban fabric in residential areas; Promote commercial and housing development in vacant lots; Encourage clusters of commercial uses instead of scattered commercial development along the transportation corridors; Design new city entries where the main corridors connect with the CUT; Examine alternatives to road extension and expansion inside and around the CUT ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 Memorial 3 )

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20 Present Context Compared with other urban centers in the island, Caguas CUT is one of the most active urban center s in Puerto Rico thanks to the efforts and initiatives of the local government. Still, the role of the CUT as a healthy economic and commercial center in Caguas has declined due to the expansion of the urbanized areas in the city. Caguas economic identitie s have determined the type of developments that have occurred, both in the city and its urban center. First Caguas is the center for trade and economy, and the regional government facilities in the central eastern region of Puerto Rico. Despite t hese cha racteristics and that the city is the main provider of jobs in the region, Caguas is considered by many people a dormitory town or a satellite of San Juan because most of the residential population works or study in the San Juan metropolitan area. This sit uation is one of the reasons for the many housing projects that have been built in Caguas. Unfortunately, these investments have taken place in the suburbs and not in the CUT. Population and Housing the 2010 U.S. Census years, while in Caguas there has been a population growth of p.38). Nevertheless, the article fails to distinguish that this increase in population has been in the suburbs since the residential population i n the CUT has declined sharply (Figure 2 3) According to the U.S. Census Bureau informa tion the population in the CUT has been decreasing continually during fifty decades. For instance, the population

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21 decreased from 8,500 residents in 1960 to 4,062 residents in 1970 and from 3,217 residents in 1980 to 3,050 residents in 1990 and finally f rom 2,580 residents in 2000 to 2,248 in 2010 This population dec rease in the CUT translates to a 73.6 % or 6,252 less residents than its highest population in 1960 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 c ). Considering that the CUT area is 197 acres the residential den sity of 11.4 persons per acre in 2010 is well below the density of 43 persons per acre in 1960. T hese drastic changes in population can have negative effects in the ability to promote a variety of social, educational cultural and economic activitie s in the CU T As for the housing situation, the 2010 census identified 1,362 housing units in the CUT (17.4% less than in 2000) of which 355 units or 26.1% were vacant. This would mean a change of 17.4% less housing units when compared to the 1,649 units i n 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 c ) In regards to housing tenure rental units are more abundant in the urban center with the majority of the rentals being Section 8 voucher holders From the 1,007 units occupied in 2010, 737 units were rentals while 270 w ere occupied by its owners (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 c ) Due to the decline of the area the majority of the owners prefer to rent their properties taking advantage of the H ousing and U rban D evelopment rental subsidy program Section 8. This represents a prob lem since many of the families who rent are not set in one place ; they are constantly moving from place to place reducing the stability with respect to population Also, even if they wanted to invest in a property in the CUT these low income families face cover the costs of homeownership.

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22 Economy Caguas urban center has always been known as a traditional and significant commercial space in the east region of Puerto Rico. Before shopping centers were built in the a rea this was the place where the majority of the people went to shop. Currently, m ost of the businesses in this area are small retail stores selling low cost merchandise As shown in Figure 2 4 m ost of the commercial activity in the CUT is concentrated i n the Paseo Gautier Benitez, around the public square Plaza Palmer and adjacent blocks There are also several professional service and government offices located within the CUT. In an article from 2011, Caguas was of due to an Unfortunately, the CUT does not enjoy this increase in sales as many businesses have had to close their doors due to t he fierce competition that represent the shopping malls and their commodities comme rcial establishments in the CUT but in recent years as of March 2010 there were businesses (Anonymous, 2010). As it can be seen in Figure 2 5, the physical appearance of the area has deteriorated causing many buildings to be vacant because of the poor conditions of the spaces that surround them. Figure 2 6 shows ten shopping center s that the author identified that are located less than 2 miles away from the CUT Among these are a Super Wal Mart and Las Catalinas Mall that is located just across Jos Mercado Avenue one of the main entrances to the CUT. This mall has over 100 shops, more than 3,000 parking spaces and many restaurants and stand alone stores around it. As in many other cities, in

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23 Caguas, consumers favor shopping centers given its central location, and the availability of parking, among other amenities. Summary The CUT has lost its luster as a central living neighborhood and commercial area. With no nightlife, few housing units and a decreasing population the CUT goes to sleep when the workday crowd leaves. The environment and the infrastructure conditions of the area impact the circumstances in which people live, how they function and how they do their businesses. The mayor and other city officials are aware that the problems affecting the CUT need more than a simple revitalization plan and capital improvement programs Therefore, the local government has joined forces with the local community and private investors in a number of projects and initiatives looking to improve the area conditions and economic activity According to Santiago (2011) there have been since 200 8 $122.25 million in p in the CUT (p. 40) However, it can center population. After this fact, the question is if the strategies and practic es that Caguas has taken to address its downtown revitalization are been effective or not

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24 Figure 2 1 Aerial Image of the City of Caguas in 1937. Source: Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 p.6

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25 Figure 2 2 Caguas Downtown Delimitation Source: Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 p.3

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26 A) B) Figure 2 3 Population from 1960 to 2010. A) City of Caguas and B) Caguas Downtown Source : Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005; U.S Census Bureau 2010 c

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27 Figure 2 4 Area s of major commercial activity within the urban center Source: Google Earth, 2012

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28 Figure 2 5. Vacant and abandoned buildings in the urban center

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29 Figure 2 6 Shopping Centers Surrounding the CUT Source: Google Earth, 2012

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30 CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEW and residential developments toward the suburbs. Vaca nt and abandoned properties, poverty, segregation and blight are some of the common problems affecting downtowns. Realizing the historical and cultural value of their downtowns, many cities have engaged in revitalization projects to bring life back to thei r downtowns Some have been successful while others keep on the trial and error learning process A common question regarding this topic is : what are the best practices and strategies to carry out downtown revitalization projects ? The truth is that t no one size fits all solution Similar approaches can be taken but they need to be tailored to fit the area where it is going to be applied This literature review discusses and examines topics related to downtown revitalization. Urban Renewal Programs At the beginning of the 19 60s the federal government developed different programs aimed at solving the problems in urban centers These well intentioned programs were effective in achieving some of their goals but they also created adverse effects on many ur ban centers around the nation. Throughout different cities e ntire blocks and neighborhoods in the urban center s were demolished making a big impact in the area. Those who were able to move out from the city center left, leaving behind the poor, elderly and disabled people (Bright, 2000; Faulk, 2006). Urban renewal programs in many cities were a failure Many neighborhoods were knocked down and families displaced. These failure efforts created anger and discouraged many in the public and private sectors tur ning their attention away from the

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31 city center (Kemp, 2001). Between 1970 and 1980 some cities started to take local approaches to revitalize downtown. Bright (2001) explains that after two decades of out participation and local government support the city center conditions began to improve (p. 15). Downtown Revitalization Besides improving critical conditions, downtown revitalization projects are aimed at bring ing economic development to the area. Downtowns are traditionally the centers of both business and culture but c ommercial and residential growth in the suburbs has contributed to its decline Re vitalizing downtowns involves many activities, s uch as business and touris t attraction restoring and improving infrastructure, improving the visual environment property rehabilitation and business retention programs among others (International Economic Development Council [IEDC], n.d.) The purpose of these initi atives is to create an attractive environment to increase the number and variety of businesses in downtown. Leinberger (2005) explains that revitalization implies carrying more money into the area (p.5). Despite of the fact that there is a low business activity in stressed downtown s these areas have always been a magnet for service business and other office based activities. A full range of municipal services tend to be located in downtown areas because o f their centralized location. However, because of the physical, social, and economic problems many continue to neglect downtown as an asset to achieve community economic development (Persky & Wiewel, 2000) Following this thinking R.W. Robertson (1993) i ndicated :

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32 The downtown areas of cities in North America have the potential of contributing to the economic welfare of the entire community. In order to reach this potential, a strategic approach should be followed and t his process should be comprehensive, (p.30) Other authors agree with the economic potential behind downtown revitalization. Tyler, 2000). In Downtown improvement manual, Berk (1976) suggested that before making decisions or setting up Moreover, K.A. Robertson (1995) considers that it is neces Like fingerprints, downtowns are different from each other. Each one has its unique characteristics, physical co ndition, and assets requiring a customized approach ( Kemp, 2001; Leinberger, 2005). Building on unique assets will led to successful strategies. City officials have to be creative and innovative when working on revitalization projects. Finding a strategy and something that distinguish their downtown from suburban areas is key to attract people and investment back (Norquist, 1998). Finally, in her article Ten Steps to a Living Downtown Moulton (1999) describe d two important characteristics for a downtown to be competitive: it must provide an attracts people to move there and Vacant Land and Abandoned Property Whenever you review downt own revitalization literature vacancy and property abandonment are two of the main problems representing a barrier to revitalization

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33 efforts. These problems are serious and impose economic and social costs both to the city and the community as t hey become eyesores deteriorating rapidly and easily becoming focus for drugs and crime affecting the value of properties nearby (Persky & Wiewel, 2000). A review of the literature indicates that the reuse of vacant land and structures can represent an opportunity for the economic growth and recovery of a diverse range of urban areas ( Accordino & Johnson, 2000 ). A paper by Pagano & Bowman, Vacant La nd in Cities: An Urban Resource econo The urban center is always within an area that is economically valuable because of its proximity to main transportation and communication nodes. These areas are an opportunity for the city to put into practice some econom ic development strategies that will help in creating new jobs, increas e tax revenue and improving transportation infrastructure to eventually attrac t more people to live in the area (Kemp, 2001; Persky & Wiewel 2000) Downtown revitalization also strengt hens local government budgets by getting vacant land back on the tax rolls (Municipal Research and Services Center, 1997). It brings increased numbers of residents to support downtown commercial centers. There are many tools that cities use to address thes e trends such as code enforcement, tax foreclosure eminent domain, and grants for aesthetic improvements (Accordino & Johnson, 2000) On the other hand, dealing with vacant land or abandoned property is not an easy task. In some cities the public sector is a barrier to progress. Hughes (2000) conducted a study in Philadelphia and found that at one point there were 15 public agencies

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34 dealing with vacant properties making it impossible to developers to acquire the complex and politicized, maze of fragmented ed Hughes gave two recommendations on his study that cities should follow to further improve their system: create a land records database which will provide an inventory and coordinate decision making to improve organization. Other authors agree with this and suggest that a consolidated authority could help the permitting and acquisition process be easier while helping to restore t he property market (Kromer, 2002; Pagano & Bowman, 2000) Community Participation As r evitalization involves a series of different activities it depends on the public and private investment and citizen collaboration to be successful. The importance of comm unity participation on revitalization efforts is discussed in the literature (Fa ulk, 2006; Persky & Wiewel, 2000 but Faulk (2006) also argue that besides tailoring every aspect of the process. never happens without people who are going to have to live with the results day to day being involved, Public Private Partnerships Geddes ( 2005) defines public two or more organizations working togethe r to improve performance through mutual objectives, devising a way of resolving disputes and committing to continuous improvement, measuring progress and

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35 T o achieve success t his process requires cooperation of all the organizations in volved; government, developers, communities, financial institutions (Hyra, 2008). private Furthermore, efforts, aggressively implementing policies that support community building and removing those Notwithstanding, the success of partnerships Partnership ccomplish their goals (Geddes, 2005). Una ffordability and Gentrification Common unintended side effects of downtown revitalization are un affordability and gentrification. Revitalization projects always create a debate as improving conditions w ill make it more attractive and at the same time will increase the properties prices so it i s not going to be affordable for low income people to live in that area Some cities are able to offer lower commercial rents and housing prices in their downtowns but once demand increase and the area becomes more attractive prices start to go up (Faulk, 2006). Leinberger (2005) explains that affordability is a major issue related to housing because low income workers whose jobs are located in downtown are not able to afford new residential developments due to the basic costs that are added to the construction

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36 Smith and LaFaivre (1984) reported that gentrification leads to a restructuring of urban spaces and instead o f revitalization it is a form of de vitalization In a study about downtown Denver, Colorado, Progressive Urban Management Associates (2006) explained that downtowns should offer a variety of housing stock providing an multi In essence, to prevent gentrification and provide affordable housing the local city government need to make sure that it is required by the revitalization plan (Leinber ger, 2005) Main Street Approach The federal and state governments have established programs to support the preservation of the historic context in downtown. Incentives such as tax credits have been provided to rehabilitate historic structures. The Main St reet Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) was created in 1980 and has been successfully implemented or used as guidance by many cities (Tyler, 2000 ; K.A. Robertson, 2004 ). The program support small cities that promote the reuse of old buildings on their revitalization projects. This a pproach support downtown revitalization by preserving and developing the area through comprehensive and strategic planning Authors in the preservation and revitalization field s support the Main Stree t approach and it s positive impacts in many small communities even if they are officially affiliated to the NTHP or not that successfully followed it to rehabilitate their downtown areas ( See Tyler, 2000; Faulk, 2006; K.A. Robertson, 2004 ). After conduct ing a pilot program in three small downtowns ; Galesburg, I llinois ; Madison, I ndiana ; and Hot Springs, S outh D akota Skelcher (as cited in K.A. Robertson, 1995) found that it was viable for these cities to

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37 i mplement the approach and successfully stimulate r evitalization efforts in their downtowns (p.432). The Main Street Approach consists of four elements : Organization Promotion : presen t an attractive image of downtown to attract people. Design : capitalizing an appealing atmosphere. Economic restructuring : finding the money to make this happen. Source: Office of Trade & Economic Development (n.d. ) Cit ies can adapt these elements to their own needs to make it viable Furthermore, i t is suggested to combine these elements with eight principles for better results when developing strategies for downtown revitalization These are: 1. Comprehensiveness : the re vitalization project should include various initiatives to deal with the problems affecting downtown. 2. Incrementation : start with small projects to sharp the skills of the community to 3. Self help : foster com munity involvement by educating residents and business owners about the benefits of revitalization. 4. Public private Partnerships : both sectors have interest in the wellbeing of the 5. Assets : identify 6. Quality : 7. Change : 8. Action Orientation : create visible changes to support the process. Source: Office of Tr ade & Economic Development (n.d. )

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38 It is clear from the above discussion that revitalization is a long and consuming process. People must be patient and work on small scale projects to create a strong foundation to reach successful results. Finally, it is important that before trying to follow or implement this approach, city officials and planners study cases where it was implemented to become more familiar with its components ( K.A. Robertson, 2004). Best Practices The literature on downtown revitalizatio n recognizes strategies, policies and incentives that are identified by different authors as best practices for this purpose Ferguson (2005) completed a study based on eleven cities that are recognized for their As a f ramework for his study he compiled successful about projects The elements identified as needed for success are from Moulton (1999) who was previously cons idered at the beginning of this chapter. In her article, Moulton offered the following list of elements for success: H ousing is a downtown priority; Downtown should be a well defined or branded place; M ust be accessible, with physical infrastructure mainta ined and beautification undertaken; M ust have new and improved regional amenities; traffic generators that will attract users from throughout the region; M ust be clean and safe; M ust preserve and reuse old buildings; R egulations must be streamlined and be supportive of residential growth;

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39 City resources should be devoted to housing. Incentives available to promote housing; The edge of downtown should be surrounded by viable neighborhoods; and Downtown is never done; manage ment continues on a daily basis (Mo ulton, 1 999) The other author considered is a well known scholarly in the field of revitalization and other downtown topics, Professor Kent Robertson. He identified eight principles for success in Downtown Development Principles for Small Cit ies : S t rong public private partnership; Development of a vision/strategic plan for downtown; Mixed uses so downtown can be multi functional; Pedestrian friendly and walkable environment; T ake advantage of its own particular heritage; Downtowns should b e l inked to the city waterfront (when applicable) ; Establish design guidelines; and Do not overstate t he importance of parking. Source: Burayidi (Ed.) 2001, pp. 9 20 The third study considered Waits M.J. et al (as cited in Fergurson, 2005) identify ch st works (p.3). These characteristics are: Cultural diversity; Night life; Networking opportunities; Technology infrastructure ; Mixed use development; Compactness; and Density. Source: Ferguson, 2005, p. 3 When making a comparison of these three authors s uggested keys for successful downtowns all the ideas are related or even the same in some cases Overall, i t is successful for one city

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40 downtown is not guarantee to be the key for success in another city. Strategies and practices suggested by scholars are useful but they should always be tailored to each downtown circumstance for better results

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41 CHAPTER 4 METHODO LOGY An overview of downtown re vitalization policies at national and county level were done through research. Also, economic and process management theories were considered by studying literature related to the downtown revitalization topic. These ga ve ins ight on downtown revitalization projects and understanding the challenges and possible achievements that can be obtained from this practice. Case studies are valuable for understanding some particular events in a better context. Since there are not succes sful examples of downtown re vitalization in Puerto Rico this research uses case studies from cities in the United States that have been successful in revitalizing their downtowns It involves a review of comprehensive and strategic plans and policies to u nderstand how re vitalization strategies are used in different cities to revitalize their downtowns Case study review and research was conducted on successful strategies for downtown revitalization. Many sources were referenced in order to contextualize Ca This method was selected because it helps find what revitalization strategies and policies are more appropriate to Among the most successful strategies for downtown revitalization are: Develop a community vision for downtown Use public/private partnerships Emphasize a multifunctional downtown Apply the Main Street Approach

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42 The research is a public policy analysis and is based on revitalization strategies best practices. The objective of this research is to determine whether or not Caguas policies and strategies to revitalize its downtown are suitable to allow revitalization to be successful A list of best practices was derived from th ree case studies and compared with what the city of Caguas have done so far. Secondary research including websites and downtown revitalization materials were reviewed to assess best practices. Larger centers with similar downt own challenges were also considered, in brief, especially if strategies were scalable. The research conducted for this study is from existing sources and include analysis of measures such as the Main Street Approach to support downtown revitalization throu gh comprehensive and strategic planning. There are a variety of incentive programs that had been used by different cities working toward downtown revitalization and that have been a helpful tool for small cities. Cities Selection and Analysis Since t s no one size fits all solution, downtow n revitalization practices take different forms in different cities. Case studies were identified and evaluated for their applicability to these social and organizational issues The critique of the case studies also provided a literature basis for specifying criteria for developing the research instruments. Case studies of small cities that share multiple characteristics (population, low income neighborhoods, vacancy, and external threats) with Cagua s and that have a chieved some degree of successful downtown revitalization with their strategies include: Burlington, Vermont; Greensville, South Carolina and Ash e ville, North Carolina. In order to understand the policies and strategies used in these downtown areas and the ir purpose, strategic plans, comprehensive plans and downtown master plans

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43 were reviewed for each city. These cities have programs and initiatives that encouraged the revitalization of their downtown and have been successful in bringing a major shift in po pulation, retail, housing and vacancy patterns. Caguas Downtown Site Information Initially a census data research for the City of Caguas was carried out. Downtown govern ment perspective and their partnership s goals. For a detailed assessment of Caguas downtown situation different vacancy and abandonment indicators were analyzed on a neighborhood level. This assessment allow ed a detailed examination of these neighborhoods in terms of the abandonment and the economic impact they have experienced. Potential improvements, gentrification issues, and further decline as a result of urban redevelopment projects are pointed out before the assessment. Recommendations are made bas ed on field visits and observations and where owntown is today in regards to infrastructure improvement and community involvement, compared with its revitalization plans. The context of this research has been constructed to provide research over views as well as goals, objectives, strategy and recommended strategies, but also to provide insights into what other cities are doing to reach goals and objectives that are similar to those of the city of Caguas. These best practices will be one mean of c omparison to the strategies and programs that the City of Caguas has outlined to their downtown revitalization. Summary In order to understand how downtown redevelopment policies affect the success of different projects to accomplish this, three cities in U S were selected as case study examples and reviewed. This research is based on proven best practices models from

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44 cities with similar population, high vacancy ratios and other similar conditions. These small cities integrated different policies and land uses and activities within their downtown areas, making it an economic and cultural vitality center. These cities implemented successful and innovative approaches to downtown economic development. Information on the revitalization policies and strate gies w ere obtained downtown comprehensive and strategic plans. As part of the conclusions of this study, recommendations are made as to what measures support downtown redevelopment goals in Caguas and what the best practices are for achieving th ose goals. This mainly qualitative approach is intended to

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45 CHAPTER 5 CASE STUDIES ANALYSIS The case studies considered in this chapter are meant to give examples of successful downt own revitalization cases in small cities The three city downtowns discussed ahead took similar approaches to revitalize their downtown s The se case studies are evaluated each one on its own and a background of each city and downtown area are also revie w ed Several policy and funding and finance mechanisms are available to help cities with downtown revitalization. The revitalization process is examined to see what procedures and difficulties needed to be overcome to make revitalization efforts work. Lastl y, the results of each revitalization program are analyzed to see if the community met its goals with the projects. By doing so, a firm understanding of the communities should be achieved with thoughts and best practices ideas of how those strategies can b e applied to downtown Caguas. Burlington, Vermont History and Problems The city of Burlington in Chittenden County is the largest city in Vermont According to the 2010 U.S. Census the city population for that year was 42,417, a 9.1% increase since the ye ar 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 b ). Since 1925, land use planning has played a central role in shaping the city of Burlington ( City of Burlington 2011). The efforts and commitment of work ing together to keep the Because of these efforts Burlington has received numerous awards and accolades M ost recently, the city was named first place i n the list of 100 best places to raise a family 2010 Prettiest Town

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46 in America by Fo rbes and in the 2008 Top 10 Places to Live by CNN Money (Churchstmarkeplace.com, 2011). Like many other urban centers, Burlington Downtown was victim of the urban renewal policies in the 19 50s and 19 60s. Many historic buildings were knocked down, neig hborhoods eliminated, and vacancy rates in the area were increasing and making the historic context of downtown change significantly With a declining city economy both government and citizens became worried and decided to work together looking for solutio ns to revitalize their downtown Projects and Strategies Over the last two decades the city has developed more than forty programs, projects and initiatives to maintain an economically sustainable community. The City took a serious approach to planning and decided to move on and started to define their goals and mission. Burlington term vision plan was first developed during the period of 1989 to 1990 and it still remains step of the city to direct downtown revitalization. The vision established that downtown should always remain an urban center with Downtown Burlington Development Association, 1989 p.2). Planning principles and th e characteristics that Burlington should preserve are outlined in the plan but making clear that a plan without action is nothing The planning principles include d : Partnerships and Cooperation Seize the Opportunities Think Urban

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47 Characteristics to pres erve include d : Diversity Human Scale Regional Resource Center Density Recommendations for action include d : Cooperation Housing Education Services and the Arts The Waterfront Transportation Source: Downtown Burlington Development Association, 1989 p p 2 10 The first implemented strategy was the creation of the Downtown Partnership This was a public private initiative between the city government and the business community to address together issues that include transportation and parking, down town development, safety, and marketing ( City of Burlington 2011, p.VI 7) The goal of this partnership was while keeping an eye on competition and focusing on d Downtown Partnership, 2011) The good management skills and the commitment showed by this partnership was a key for downtown success. A community planning initiative named the Legacy Project was created in 1999. The purpose was to collaborate with citizens gathering ideas to c reate a comprehensive plan for the economic, environmental, and social health of the city ( City of Burlington 2009, p.19). for their city and t he common vision was to achieve a thriving economy while countering sprawl. Of the major principles established to guide future development the most important were to increase participation in decision making, support long term solutions and concentrate mixed used, high density development within the urban cent er ( City of Burlington, 2000 p. 11 ).

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48 Some of the f unding sources and finance mechanisms that the City use d are: grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Act, S ection 8, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Business Development The City established four different organizations to provide guide and assistance to those who want ed to start a new business, expand, or just relocate into Burlington downtown T hese organizations are: Vermont Small Business Development Center (VTSBDC) : one on one assistance with the process of researching, starting, operating, expanding and closing a small business ; Micro Business Development Program (MBDP) : offers low and mod erate income entrepreneurs assistance for starting, expanding or improving their businesses. Services include: one on one business counseling, business planning and loan packaging assistance, peer marketing support group, workshops and training, credit coa ching, and household financial education ; and : provides women with business skills and support to start, operate, and expand micro businesses. It offers many workshops and introductory courses ( City of Burlington 2 010, p.4 ). Each organization offer free assistance helping entrepreneurs to develop a business plan in accordance with the city regulations. City Policies The City of Burlington downtown main land use and economic development policies are as follow: Encou rage the adaptive reuse and historically sensitive redevelopment of underutilized sites and buildings ; Promote and strengthen a mixed economy, and work actively to retain existing businesses and jobs ; Promote and support locally owned small businesses ;

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49 Partner with the private, not for profit, and other government sectors to support existing businesses, and attract future development ; and Invest in the necessary public improvements, particularly transportation, to strengthen the Downtown, both as a Regional Growth Center, and as city neighborhood ( City of Burlington 2011 p. II 1 ). Transportation and Parking For a better downtown functionality the city considered that besides improving accessibility and parking it was very important to create a bet ter and secure pedestrian environment. Traffic calming devices such as bicycle lanes, textured crosswalks, speed limit, and speed humps were promoted in downtown area (Warner, 2010). There are different parking options for downtown visitors, including thre e garages, six surface lots and on street metered parking. Other strategies implemented to bring more people downtown: The p arking division increased the time on meters from 2 hours to 3 hours for a better utilization of the meters; A two hour free parkin g program for transient parkers and downtown businesses (City of Burlington,2009 ) ; D iscounted passes on buses and extending service hours on certain routes, for example the ones between downtown and the university ; and D esign guidelines were implemented l ike more transit stops, fever car lanes, shorter pedestrian crossings for safety, more bike lane, and landscape med ians (War n er 2010, p.2) Housing The city has promoted housing policies with the goal of balancing rental housing and homeownership in its d owntown. different key centers and other tools such as : : this center aims to help citizens from different income level s to purchase a property by providing them education on de bt and credit management skills ;

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50 Rental Opportunity Center : to offer professional assistance to landlords and tenants and find appropriate matches between the two ; The City utilizes Section 8 program vouchers to help low income famili es rent homes at a lower price; and A housing tenure ladder : suppor ts individuals and non profit organizations to help people move from homeless shelters to transitional housing, from transitional housing to rental, and from rental to ownership ( Warner, 2010, p.1 ). I mpacts owntown had a rapid growth in population going from 3,109 in 2000 to 3,80 0 in 2010 ( Vermont Housing Finance Agency, 2011 ). One of the main reasons of downtown success can be attributed to the responsible management team that iss assets. The city offers different cultural and recreational activities to keep attracting locals and visitors to downtown and use advertising at a regional level to promote tourism As a result of the implemented policies and strategies there are 3,800 households living in Downtown in a diverse housing stock in a mix use area that includes retail, recreation and commercial activities (Vermont Housing Finance Agency, 2011, p. 2). Lessons Learned Public private partnership Promote citizen participation Promote local business Cooperation Define roles and responsibilities Take advantage of downtown assets Invest in existing infrastructure to support growth Good management team and maintenance Promote downtown through advertising Use marketing strategies Improve accessibility Improve aesthetics and c

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51 Better parking policies Design guidelines Mix Use development Promote arts and entertainment Population di versity Housing policies to help low income families Create improvement district Work on each neighborhood individually Create events to attract families and young people Conduct a retail feasibility study of the area Strong land use and zoning policies I dentify challenges before they become threats Summary The City of Burlington is a successful example of downtown revitalization with an activist government and community working They do have had problems and challenge s like any other city but the government and its community work together to keep their downtown thriving. The its citizens have a serious commitment in sustain ing downtown vitality And they seem to be more than energized to keep working on it while keep building on their urban center assets. Several revitalization projects are being completed for a total of $1.6 Ash e ville, North Carolina History and Problems Asheville is another successful example of downtown revitalization and shows how important are to have a clear vision and a remarkable organization. Asheville is a city in Buncombe County located on the west side of North Carolina. According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau the city population for that year was 83,393, a 21.1% increase since the year 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 a ). Downtown Asheville was the main

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52 expansion many busines ses left downtown to relocate on new commercial developments ( City of Asheville, 2011 ). Minor redevelopment efforts occurred but downtown started to be considered by many people to be dead. According to Whalen (2010) Asheville was an aging city with a boa rded up downtown, and a moribund local economy Projects and Strategies First revitalization efforts were in 1977 with the creation of the Asheville Revitalization Commission. The plan called A Revitalized Downtown was develo ped with the mission of making d owntown more livable and developing its strengths by enhancing the neighborhoods with the character of villages. In 1979, a private developer made a proposal that was very controversial. It proposed to build a shopping mall by demolishing and replacing e leven blocks of Downtown ( City of Asheville, 2011 p. 11). place with the city stepping in as a changing agent. The City took a very important action, hiring a person with previous downtown revitalization experience to ensure that the emerging visions were implemented and sustained. This person was soon named City Manager and help with establishing different plans, guidelines and divisions for a successful revitalization approach. Du ring this period the City Council approved the creation of different offices to help the Asheville Revitalization Commission with the revitalization efforts. These are the offices and their missions: Downtown Task Force: determine a process for moving the revitalization efforts forward; Downtown Commission: develop the Central Business District (CBD) as the

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53 Downtown Development Office: serve as a catalyst for the public and private sec tor as well as to be part of, and support for, a broader system of downtown groups; Asheville Downtown Association (ADA) : liaison between the city and th e downtown business community ( Anderson, 2006, p.7 ). As a strategy the city began the process of writing a city w ide comprehensive plan that resulted in the adoption in 1987 for a revitalized downtown. The City Plan addresses key topics for the future of downtown: Economic Development : the city center will be the fo cal point of office and retail development and a center of employment; Housing : downtown will be a safe and vibrant neighborhood with a diverse population and a wide range of housing options; and Transportation/Accessibility : downtown will be accessible fr om throughout the community via safe and efficient multi modal transportation system with an attractive streetscape ( City of Asheville, 2011 p.5 ). Although Asheville is a big city in terms of population standards the City Manager recommended incorporat ing the Main Street model of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to their revitalization efforts. The Downtown Development Office staff and volunteers assisted to conferences, studied publications and visited cities that used this approach benefit ting with different ideas and knowledge (Anderson, 2006, p.4). Another interesting strategy implemented by the staff to involve the citizens on the revitalization efforts was to publish in the local newspaper monthly inserts about the progress of developme city staff on a tour through the construction sites. Along with the Tourism office they nderson, 2006, p.13). There was a good response and support from the citizens thanks to these strategies

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54 The Asheville Downtown Master Plan was completed with the help of the community shaping their vision for downtown and setting out strategies to reach that vision. Seven strategies were developed under three categories: Experiencing downtown Strategy 1: Enhance the Downtown Asheville experience by cultivating its creative, c ultural, and historic character ; Strategy 2: Expand convenient choices fo r Down town access and mobility ; Shaping downtown Strategy 3: place and community ; Strategy 4: Shape building fo rm to promote quality of place ; Strategy 5: Update Downtown design guidelines to be current, to be clear, and to promote sustainable development ; Strategy 6: Make Downtown project review transparent, predictable, a nd inclusive of community input ; Managing downtown Strategy 7: Nurture a sustainable and resilient economy through active m anagement of Downtown Source: City of Asheville 2009 T he City Manager recommended to the city to relocate its agencies in downtown and expected that each department contributed to the revitalization plans (Anderson, 2006). That was gradually done sti mulating development and improving the image and tax base of the area. Finally, the city created the Downtown Hero awards to recognize recognition is a good strategy to moti vate and engage the community and is critical for the success of revitalization efforts.

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55 Impacts off. Several se from 2 galleries to 30 200 retail shops, 80 restaurants, 25 music venues, 12 churches and religious organizations, 5 museums and 5 theaters Downtown also benefited from federal housing credit programs, there are 17 Housing Credit properties with a tota l of 1,121 units ( City of Asheville, 2011 p.10). Lessons Learned Public private Partnership Hire experienced people Collaboration of all city divisions Coordination across departments Relocation of Government agencies in downtown Public participation Fest ivals and Cultural Events Marketing and Promotions Frequent site visits (Department heads and staff) Main Street model approach Mix use Development Affordable Housing Identify key supporters Recognize and celebrate accomplishments Summary The improvements in Downtown Asheville are very impressive and are the result of many years of organization and commitment. Citizen participation along with other downtown stakeholders provided an understanding of what was convenient to do in this area for a successful re vitalization. The efforts of different organizations and volunteers to bring people to Downtown were a key to success. Finally, the decision of hiring a person with experience on revitalization was the most important step that Asheville city officers took when they decided to revitalize downtown. Other c ities working toward

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56 revitalizing the ir downtowns should do that too making an effort to involve the right people with the right set of skills. Greenville, South Carolina History and Problems Greenville is one of the biggest cities in South Carolina and has a population of 58,409 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 d ) out for its quality large headquarters and job opportunities making it a popular destination in the north region of South Carolina Before Downtown Greenville thrived this way it also suffered like any other downtown areas during the 1960 s period. During the two following decades the population in downtown was in decline. The recorded population for the city declined nearly 20% ( City of Greenville 2009 ) Since early 1980 s Greenville undertook different projects to revitalize downtown remaking Main Street and improving the area physical conditions to make it suitable for mix use development. Projects, Tools and Strategies Th e importance of planning was highlighted when the initial efforts took place. Public private partnerships and progressive planning provided good outcomes. The steps were rezoning historic buildin gs areas in downtown and improving the streetsca pe plan of Main Street. Four lanes streets were narrowed to two lanes and free angled parking in certain areas. To make the streets more appealing decorative light fixtures and trees were installed and parks and plazas were created throughout the area ( Cit y of Greenville 2009 p.27 ). The public private partnerships helped bolster downtown by attracting new business and housing developments. After seeing some improvements, the city recognized that the public sector needed to step forward to provide the imp etus for

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57 private investment ( City of Greenville 2011a ) One of the first projects was the construction of a hotel in Main Street funded by one of the partnerships. By this time, he following visio by the year 2000, Greenville will have a thriving downtown which is recognized nationally as an of the ( City of Greenville 2011a ) Through continued commitment to the plan and successful alliances the city continued the efforts to revitalize downtown. A performing arts center and a mixed use project were also developed to stabilize a stagnant historic district ( City of Greenville 2 011a ) The Master Plan goals were as follow : Create a framework for the future downtown development ; Reinforce the role of downtown as an economic catalyst for the region ; Create a fully functioning, mixed use, sustainable, urban environment ; and Leverage prior successes to move to the next level ( City of Greenville 201 0 p. 1) In 2007, the city held a two ideas for a new downtown master plan ( City of Greenville 2011a ) The public input was very valuable as i t helped the city get more knowledge of what other improvement s were necessary to keep downtown alive. In 2008, a public/private partnership between the city, the chamber of commerce, eloped an initiative called Downtown Greenville Development Initiative (DGDI) to attract more business to downtown (US Airways Magazine, 2010, p.62). Transportation Greenville Comprehensive Plan established three objectives for downtown area:

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58 Objective 1: provide adequate infrastructure so that individuals have sidewalks, bike lanes, roads, etc. to navigate; Objective 2: p rovide adequate public transportation so that individuals do not have to rely on vehicles ; and Objective 3: p ave the way for transit orie nted developments ( City of Greenville 2007) Downtown is a pedestrian friendly area with ample sidewalks, bike lanes and trails for people to move around the district without the need of a car. Also, there is a trolley that provides free rides from point to point within downtown. This was done through a partnership with the local baseball team who provided the trolleys. For those who drive there are parking garages and lots that are free during the weekends and evening The city uses this as a strategy to attract more people during nighttime and weekends Also, a web application was developed to help visitors find parking easily. H ousing support downtown development toward this type of housing the city provides the following assistance: Assembling key properties and packaging them into larger tracts Add ressing property issues including title work, liens and environmental issues Public improvements Down payment and closing cost assistance to homebuyers Homebuyer education Assistance with pre development and construction costs Technical assistance through the development process ( City of Greenville 2011a pp. 12,13) Some of the funding sources and finance mechanisms that the City uses for downtown revitalization besides private sources are federal and state programs like: CDBG funds, HOME program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Low Income

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59 Housing Tax Credits, Housing Trust Fund, other homeowner and rental programs, and Financial Incentives The city of Asheville through its Department of Economic Development facilitates a variety of financing and b usiness i ncentives to local business and other investors who want to establish their facilities in downtown. For development assistance: Commercial Corridors Faade Improvement Program Small Business Loan Programs Community Development Revitalization Programs Land Assembly and Infrastructure Improveme nts Historic Rehabilitation Federal Tax Credit Special Property Tax Assessments for Rehabilitated Historic Buildings Brownfields Federal Tax Incentive (Deduction) Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF) SC Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) For b usi ness a ssistance : Business License Tax Abatement South Carolina Jobs Economic Development Authority (JEDA) Loans and Bond Programs South Carolina State Incentives Source: City of Greenville 2011b. Impacts As with the previous cities, Greenville efforts succeeded, b y 2001 more than 90 retail stores, 70 restaurants, 275 residential units, 22 churches, 6 hotels, and several office buildings were established in downtown and more projects were on the way (City of Greensville, 201 1 a ) Greenville has experienc ed an economic and cul tural boom on the last 10 years thanks to the efforts of the city government and the established

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60 partnerships. The renovations in the area have attracted more residents and business to invest in downtown ( City of Greenville 2011a ) L essons Learned Public private Partnerships Mix use Development Affordable Housing Business Incentives Rezoning Pedestria n friendly a tmosphere Build a sidewalk network Parks and open s paces (Green space creation) Biking lanes and t rails Web applications f or downtown f acilities/ p arking Free Trolley service Free wireless in d owntown Festival s and other events Main Street Approach Design Guidelines Street vendors restricted to specific locations Museums and Galleries Self g uided t ours Plant trees Summary Alt h ough the city has been successful in their efforts to revitalize the city center it recognizes that it must continue to work continuously to improve. By rezoning certain areas in their downtow n and making policy changes to approval processes the city made it easier for developers and investors to work with them on the revitalization. Adding trees to the streets landscape was a good strategy from the city as they create a better environment, im press visitors, and invite people to walk around the area. After the city accomplishes its goals it is very important to continue innovating and working to as it is an ongoing endeavor

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61 CHAPTER 6 ANALYSIS OF CAGUAS Introductory R emarks The urban center of Caguas, Puerto Rico is in the throes of revitalization. For many years Caguas was struggling with a blighted downtown and its low population density A description of the present context of Downtown Caguas and some of the efforts to revitalize it since the 1980s were briefly discussed in Chapter 2. This chapter is an analysis of the current downtown revitalization practices and strategies in Caguas Revitalization Plans Caguas general vision and mission are summarized as f Caguas, our new country, a vibrant, safe, beautiful, and ordered city, healthy, cultured and modern, technologically advanced, that lives together in solidarity, is economically dynamic, front access to quality services through creative and effective means, and the optimal use of Every revitalization effort in the city of Caguas is based mainly in two plans: Area Plan (known in Spanish as Municipio Autnomo de Caguas ) that was authorized by the state government in 2007 This last plan was prepared by t he Planning Department as a requirement of Law 81 of August 30, 1991 known as Autonomous Municipalities Act which provided the city with the faculty of establishing its own land use plan. In reality the two plans are not different from each other as the PA CUT follows and cites the guidelines established by the Caguas 20/20 urban plan

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62 The city established the following policies for the revitalization projects: Enable greater access to the CUT Increase Parking availability Improve Safety Improve Infrastruc ture Condition Improve the condition of the streets Modify the existing zoning Promote cooperation between organizations Promote Sales in the area Promote the CUT Repopulation Source: Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 p.55 Economic Development The city has been involved in a series of public private partnerships to accomplish the revitalization of its downtown. Numerous infrastructure and beautification projects have been completed. Furthermore, large scale commercial projects have been built by private developers with incentives from the city to attract more people to downtown and increase the economic activity of the area. Figure 6 1 shows t he four major projects from private developers these are: Lincoln Center Plaza, a $15 million multipurpose commercial building with six floors that created office and commercial space, provided a new parking garage with 500 spaces and also has a Bowling alley and entertainment center with restaurants in th e top floor; Gatsby Center, a $40 million initial investment project that also provides office and commercial space; HIMA Medical Center, a $15 million investment project that will provide medical services and will serve as the Headquarter location of this group of hospitals; and Laboratorios Borinquen, this project is an estimated $7.5 million private investment which expanded the medical laboratories facilities and created new office space to relocate their headquarters in downtown (Perez & Marquez, 2005, p.1).

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63 Two of these projects, Gatsby Center and Laboratorios Borinquen are completed while the other two are still under construction. These projects have helped improving the economy and the physical environment of the area Space for service and commerci al activities has been created and along with it the infrastructure around the projects has been renovated. The problem is that they are all located on the edges of the limits defining the CUT, Jos Mercado Avenue, which means that the majority of the traf main commercial area (Figure 6 2) Development Incentives Through its Economic Development Department, the city promotes the competitive development of business sectors. Two ordinances were approved in 2003 Ordinance No. 03A 30 2002 2003 and 03A 31 2002 2003, to promote construction, rehabilitation and expansion of commercial and housing properties ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 ) Developers and contractors are given th ese incentives: E xemption of up to 100 % of construction taxes ; E xemption of up to 100 % of the payment of the basic tax on the property assessed value with a maximum of 10 years; Exemption of up to 100% of patents if the City goes beyond the right building blocks for development and sales ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 ) Developers can also benefit from Law 212 Act for the Revitalization of Urban Centers; this state level law provides tax incentives to developers wanting to invest in urban areas, contr ibuting to the development of cities. This law provides a variety of tax incentives such as: incentive for jobs creation in the urban center, creation of parking to incentives for revitalization of historic properties.

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64 Business Development The city provide s different economic development tools to help both entrepreneurs and existing businesses. The municipal office, PromoCaguas, promotes economic activities in the region but its main focus is on helping local business to establish their operations in downto wn Caguas. The management training and help to develop business plans with an orientation of financial tools and tax incentives available (Santiago, 2011, p.24). The Total Support Program (known in Spa nish as Programa Apoyo Total ) offers assessment and help with permits and certifications, and provides technical assistance to write proposals and other important documents. The city has an Entrepreneurial Assistance Center which is a joint venture between th e city of Caguas along with the Puerto Rico Small Business Development Center and a local university, the Columbia College. Through this center technical assistance is provided to people with business located within downtown to help them become more compet itive (Carmona, 2010 ). Finally, the Community Development Bank provides financial assistance for those businesses operating in the urban center. Transportation and Parking The city offers a free trolley service with routes through the urban center reaching all the major parking facilities. Also, there is a transportation terminal that serves as a vans that transport people from the rural areas and suburbs to the urban center. As shown in Figure 6 3 t here are sixteen parking facilities in the CUT such as g arages and l ots also there is plenty of s treet metered parking available According to the Urban Center Area Plan (2007) the city improved the accessibility by changin g the traffic

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65 direction in some streets (the majority being for one way traffic) created street extensions to connect different areas, and major roads like Jos Mercado and Rafael Cordero Avenues were widened by adding more lanes. Housing One of the main goals of the city is to increase the population in the CUT through the construction and rehabilitation of existing housing. Besides the low population density in the CUT, one of the major problems that the city confronts is that the majority of the reside nts are low income families that rent the properties under Section 8 program. The city in collaboration with the private sector is using federal incentives and funding to promote affordable housing projects in downtown. In 2010 the construction of $23 million this affordable housing project will provide 94 units from one to three bedrooms. All units will be provided under the following subsidies: 38 units will be under Law 173 R ental Assistance Program, and 56 under Section 8 rental assistance program and 7 other units are designated for handicap residents (Carmona, 2010, p.27) To develop this project as well as others under review the developers are using funds through the fede ral tax credits, the Federal Tax Credit Exchange program through the Puerto Rico Housing Authority and American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (Carmona, 2010, p.27)

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66 Figure 6 1. Major Developments in the CUT. A) Lincoln Center Plaza, B) HIMA Medical Center, C) Laboratorio Borinquen and D) Gatsby Center. Source: Secretara de Desarrollo Econmico Sustentable, 2010

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67 Figure 6 2. Location of the Four Major Developments in the CUT Source: Google Earth, 201 2

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68 Figure 6 3 Parking Facilities in the CUT Source: Secretara de Desarrollo Econmico Sustentable, 2010

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69 CHAPTER 7 DISCUSSION A compiled list of downto wn revitalization best practices derived from what was found in the literature and the o nes derived from the three case studies was put together in Table 7 1 to examine which revitalization practices are being more emphasized in Downtown Caguas Revitalization Approach These best practice criteria for downtown revitalization was divided betwe en principles and characteristics. From the thirty two practices on the list, eleven principles and twenty one characteristics, Caguas is not exercising thirteen of them. Principles approaches do accomplish three main principles that are : downto wn area plans, public private partnerships and development incentives. Since the revitalization efforts began in the city many technical studies and area plans have been completed. Partnerships have been established and local and federal incentives used to mentioned in chapter 6 were completed through these practices. However, even when the government has established on its mission and plans that housing creation in the CUT is a p riority there are no regulation to control suburban growth. In one of the case studies, t he city of Burlington, VT was able to increase downtown housing development by regulating private developments in the suburbs. In contrast, the continuous population g rowth in Caguas has been a key for the construction of many residential projects in rural and urban areas. A report about Caguas for a total of 2,473 units (Perez & Marquez, 2005). If Caguas government wants

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70 to accomplish its goal of repopulating downtown, it should use tools such as tax increment financing districts in downtown or establish development impact fees and growth controls for suburban developments. Until now in 2012 there are just three housing projects taking place within the CUT with two of these classified as social housing projects offering housing subsidy through Law 173 Rental Assistance Program and Section 8 Project Base Rental Assistance Program. Concentrating efforts and incentives on providing too many low income housing presents the problem of failing to address economic diversity which is a characteristic in the best practices criteria. Recognizing that many of the residents in downtown are lo w income families that to help them stay in the area and not be displaced. No that there is something wrong t high income, white collars and young professionals residents to relocate in the CUT to support economic diversity in the area. The city of Greenville, SC made clear on its revitalization plans and practice s that economic diversity was necessary for a fun ctional downtown and by promoting this practice, that can be difficult, the city have been able to keep a balance in its downtown. Next principle is appropriate zoning in downtown area that facilitates innovation and growth. The existing zoning in the CUT does not do much to protect its traditional character and promotes a more suburban development style as it does not establish controls on the designs of new infrastructure. Also, it does not allow housing developments to share a parking lot because it req uires that per every unit constructed

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71 at least one parking space n eeds to be provided ( Municipio Autnomo de Caguas 2005 p. 24). Through the revitalization policies the city recognizes that zoning is a major problem in the urban center and its currently working on establishing a new one that will allow more equilibrated mixed use developments in the area. Along with the zoning problems is the lack of a strict code enforcement unit. There are many buildings lity or design regulations but as it all falls over the Administration of Permits and Regulations department (ARPE ) not all the violations get to be addressed. A plan with design guidelines was published in January 2008 but it is only for the main public s paces of the CUT: Plaza Palmer (Public Square) and the buildings surrounding it plus the Paseo Gautier Bentez where there is a heavy concentration of small retailing stores. The aesthetics and infrastructure conditions in these areas are not being regulat ed yet because not all the property owners are able to afford these changes and the city is looking for funding to help the most needed ones. Characteristics Caguas policies are not adequate in terms of many of the characteristics established by the best practice criteria. An important characteristic that the city has is its proactive community. This is due to the excellent government citizen collaborative model that was established by the mayor Miranda Marn that has help with many of the improvements in (Santana et al, 2007). Citizens are able to participate on the planning and decision process The urban center lacks parks and open spaces with Plaza Palmer and Paseo de las Artes being the only two open spaces in the area serving as places where many

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72 cultural activities and celeb rations take place. More open spaces should be created through the urban center by taking advantage of existing vacant lots and that can help the area to acquire a strong sense of place. In terms of traffic generators, the urban center has the presence of large public institutions such as the Municipal Government Center, the Judicial Center, the City Hall hapter 6 which are all within a short walking distance from each other. The problem is that these traffic ge nerators are located on the edges of the CUT. When the people who visit these places complete their purpose of their visit they leave the CUT through the same place where they came from. That results in people not needing to go through the center of the C UT where all the small businesses are located. Contributing to this issue is also the poor pedestrian environment in the area. A pedestrian friendly environment is one of the most important characteristics in the best practices criteria. There are no trees in the CUT outside the areas of Plaza Palmer and Paseo de las Artes and many of the sidewalks and other street infrastructure are not in a good condition. The city has been able to improve the infrastructure in some areas but there is still a lot of work to be done. Caguas downtown is not yet multifunctional as the majority of the functions are government and professional services while the commerce keeps going in decline. With a low resident density and commerce and offices closing at 6 PM, the latest, t he urban center goes to sleep when the workday crowd leaves. Offering more entertainment working hours and weekends. Once again, creating more housing in the CUT will also help with this problem.

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73 Finally, the city revitalization practices lack of coordination among city departments. The departments working directly with downtown revitalization are ODECUT and the Planning department. Other city departments collaborate t hrough some projects and activities but all the weight is mainly over ODECUT. From the case studies, the city of Asheville, NC simplified the revitalization workload by creating four offices focused only on downtown issues leading the city to keep its focu s and complete support ODECUT should be created to split the revitalization workload. Caguas Policies Problem Based on the downtown revitalization plan analysis and the best practices criteria, Caguas revitalization policies are not having a strong effect on revitalizing its urban center. Although Caguas has similar policies to those from the case studies its downtown population and local businesses have continued to decl ine The analysis investments done so far are concentrated in the northwest corner of the CUT and all have been for businesses and offices space. The city is overstating the im portance of parking and not doing much to create a better pedestrian environment through the urban center. Regarding housing, so far three projects are being developed and the city is giving too much emphasis to social housing and not making efforts to att ract people with a higher income to spur diversity in the area. Recommendations to improve its approach are discussed ahead

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74 Recommendations The city of Caguas should reconsider its revitalization policies and strategies if it wants a thriving downtown. T he following are recommendations suggested by the researcher: Educate the population about the importance of planning and revitalization of downtown. information can be included along with inf ormation about the revitalization projects Use planning tools to control suburban growth. Developers will not turn their backs or go away from Caguas if the local government establishes a control on developments in the suburbs. Usi ng tools such as tax increment financing districts in downtown and establish ing development impact fees and growth controls for suburban developments will help developers to see downtown as an option for new developments Make changes in the CUT zoning cod e The current zoning is very restrictive and do not facilitates innovation and high densities in the area. Stop promoting parking creation. In Puerto Rico is practically impossible to ask the people not to drive as there are no efficient mass transit ser vices. The best thing to do is to inform visitors about existing parking locations through a system of Create a pedestrian friendly environment. Street infrastructure needs to be improved and plant trees that provide shade th at will also contribute with the aesthetics. Stop developing traffic generators on the CUT edges. People running errands on these areas leave the CUT the same way they came in. Therefore, these visitors do not go through the center of downtown where the m ajority of the local commerce is concentrated. Caguas should work in creating an attractive image and market Downtown as the new place to live. Current attitudes and perceptions must be changed. The Puerto Rican culture sees the urban center areas as plac es where the elderly and poor people live. Therefore people with higher income are reluctant to the idea of living in the urban center. Build on the urban center historic character and cultural facilities. There are 12 museums in the urban center that can be visited through self guiding walking tour s ; this is known as the Route of the Creole Heart (known in Spanish as La

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75 Ruta del Corazn Criollo). Schools in Puerto Rico make trips during the semester to visit touristic and cultural places Using th ese as a n asset to attract public wi ll help to attract more people to visit the museums. Reinforce downtown branding through an organized marketing approach Promoted the area and activities through social media and other communication channels. Build on the most powerful assets that any downtown has: memory and emotion. Many people keep good memories about downtown when they visited the area as a child. With a good environment and a varied offer of activities families will be attracted back to downtown. Promote e vents after workdays and the weekends The normal hours of activity in the CUT are Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sat urdays 10:00 am until 4:00 PM. A ll the stores are closed on Sundays. Promoting events and activities will attract people to t he area during these days and will help the economy. The city of Caguas has to re envision what its downtown area could be. All aspects of downtown must be review as changes take place and as time passes by.

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76 Table 7 1. Downtown Revitalization Best Practic es for Small Cities Criteria Caguas Principles Downtown Area Plans x Public Private Partnerships x Housing as a Priority Downtown Branding x Development Incentives x Regulations to Control Suburban Growth Appropriate Zoning Marketing and Promo tions x Design Guidelines Implemented x Strict Code Enforcement Tax Increment Financing district Characteristics Defined Downtown x Proactive Government x Proactive Community x Coordination among City Departments Mixed Use Development x Traf fic Generators x Old Buildings Rehabilitation x Pedestrian Friendly Environment Multi Functional Downtown Viable Neighborhoods on Downtown's Edge Good Accessibility x Sense of Place x Clean Environment x Population Diversity Parking Availabil ity x Safe Area x Residential Density Technology Infrastructure x 24/7 Downtown Parks and Open Spaces Festivals and Cultural Events x criteria

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77 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION Development projects in ma ny cities have been shifting from downtown to the suburbs and with them many residents also left the urban centers. After many years of suburban development and the change in economy many people are looking back to downtown as an area offering development and investment opportun ities Downtown revitalization is a practice that has acquired popularity and many cities try to pursue it but not all are being successful with their practices Caguas economy has been thriving and its population growing but its do wntown is not enjoying the same fate. The urban center has been losing population and the economic energy that it once enjoyed. The local businesses in this area face intense competition from many commercial developments in its surroundings. There is also an agglomeration of government institutions and professional services in the area that contribute to the daily traffic flow during weekdays but once operations stop and workers leave to go home the urban center stays behind and go to sleep. Healthy downt owns are multi functional by having a balance between housing, services and commerce. Through a combination of programs, initiatives and incentives the city of Caguas has been working during many years in partnerships with the private sector trying to attr act investment and residents back to the area but have not seen an increment in population Using case studies of small cities that were successful in revitalizing their downtowns allowed reviewing different strategies and approaches used for revitalizati on. These information along with best practices identified in the literature

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78 provided enough information to put together a compiled list of best practices criteria for downtown revitalization in small cities. These criteria served as a tool to evaluate Ca guas policies and define if its approach is being successful or not. It was found that after many years of revitalization efforts the city of Caguas is not being successful in increasing the urban center population and commerce From the best practice crit eria the City was not applying at least three important principles such as suburban growth control, appropriate zoning and most important setting housing as its main priority. The city has been concentrating much of its energy in attracting private investm ent to the area which in turn has developed more office and commerce space. Until this time in 2012 just three housing projects are under construction in the urban center area and they are being offered as social housing option for low income families. I t was explained earlier that there is nothing wrong with offering social housing options but the city is using all the incentives for this type of projects and not making efforts to attract high income and young professional s to the area. The best practice s criteria establish that it is important to create a balance in the area that brings economic and population diversity. Housing must always be a priority in downtown revitalization plans but needs a broader range of housing types and price points to maint ain diversity and affordability. Caguas plans also failed in establishing an appropriate zoning in the urban center that allow high densities to take place within the area. The city recognizes this problem and is currently working on a new plan that is exp ected to be review ed and approve d by the end of 2012.

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79 The limitations of this research were the data availability and the few outcomes from the revitalization efforts. The government in Puerto Rico rarely makes development and finances information availabl e to the public. This action limits the possibilities of researchers interested in performing studies in the island. Municipal governments should be more flexible and share their progress information through the web and other sources of communications. Aca demic research can contribute with findings that sometimes are hard for the government to find out. Findings of this research can be employed in further theoretical research concerned with urban center revitalization in other towns in Puerto Rico and in La tin America region. The importance of this study is to show the importance of using as a guide downtown revitalization best practice criteria established and supported by case studies and the academia

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83 Moulton, J. (1999). Ten Steps to a Living Downtown. Brookings Institution. Retrieved from: http://www .brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/ reports/1999/10downtownredevelopment_moulton/moulton.pdf Municipal Research and Services Center (1997) Infill Development: Strategies for Shaping Livable Neighborhoods Report No. 38. Municipio Autnomo de Caguas. (2005). Plan de Rehabilitacin del Centro Urbano Tradicional [PACUT] Neighborhood Previews. (January, 2010). Greenville, South Carolina and its popular and friendly historic downtown. Accessed January 25, 2012: http://www.neighborhoodpreviews.com/articles/index.php/greenville/Greenville SC downtown charming historic/ Norquist, J. O. (1998). The wealth of cities: Revitalizing the centers of Am erican life Reading, Mass: Addison Wesley. Office of Trade & Economic Development [OTED]. (n.d.). Organizing a Successful Downtown Revitalization Program Using the Main Street Approach. Downtown Revitalization Program, Washington State. Retrieved from: http://www.commerce.wa.gov/_cted/documents/ID_160_Publications.pdf Pagano, M. A. & Bowman, A. (2000) Vacant land in cities: an urban resource. Brookings Institution Survey Se ries, Center on Urban & Metropolitan Policy. Prez, M., & Mrquez, C. (2005). Caguas Lures $80 Million in Private Sector Investment. Caribbean Business 33 (17), 16 21. Retrieved from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=17012984&site =ehost live Persky, J., & Wiewel, W. (2000) When corporations leave town: The costs and benefits of metropolitan job sprawl Detroit: Wa yne State University Press. Robertson, K.A. (2004). The Main Street Approach to Downtown Development: An Examination of the Four Point Program. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research. 21:2 (Spring, 2004) Retrieved from: http://japr.homestead.com/files/ROBERTSO.pdf Robertson K. A. (1995) Downtown Redevelopment Strategies in the United States: An End of the Century Assessment, Journal of the American Planning Association, 61:4, 429 437 Ro bertson, R W. (1993). Economic development and downtown planning: The case of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Economic Development Review; Winter 1993; 11, 1; ABI/INFORM Global.

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84 Santana, R. L., Santiago, C. Z., & Rivera, O. A. I. (2007). tica en Caguas: Una nueva forma de gobernar San Juan, P.R.: EMS Editores. Santiago, J. (2011). While Puerto Rico struggles, Caguas thrives. Caribbean Business 39 (45), 38 42. Retrieved from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx? direct=true&db=buh&AN=67664190&site=ehost live Secretara de Desarrollo Econ mico Sustentable. ( 2010 ). Caguas 20/20: Visin Perfecta. Shields, M., & Farrigan, T. (2001). A ma nual for small downtowns University Park, PA/USA: Penn State Press. Retrieved from: http://retailmarkets.aers.psu.edu/images/manual.pdf Smith, N. and LeFaivre (1984). A class Analysis of Gentrification. Gentrification, Displacement and Neighborhood Revitalization. Albany: State University of New York Press. Tyler, N. (2000). Historic preservation: An introduction to its history, principles, and practice New York: W.W. Norton. US Airways M agazine (2010). Keys to the City of Downtown Greenville, SC. City Profiles. Retrieved January 28, 2012 from: http://www.cliffscommunities.com /_images/pdfs/USAirwaysD owntownGville.pdf U.S. Census Bureau. (2010 a ). Ashville, North Carolina. Retrieved January 9, 2012 from: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/37/3702140.html U.S. Census Bureau. (2 010 b ). B urlington, Vermont. Retrieved January 9, 2012 from: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/50/5010675.html U. S. Census Bureau. (2010c). Caguas, Puerto Rico. Retrieved January 9, 2012 from: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/popmap/ipmtext.php?fl=72 U.S. Census Bureau. (2010 d ). Greensville, South Carolina Retrieved January 9, 2012 from: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/45/4530850.html Vermont Housing Finance Agency (2011). Waterfront Areas. City of Burlington Planning & Zoning. Retrieved January 26, 2012 from: http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/PZ/Planning/PlanBTV/PlanBTV Documents/Housing Needs in Burlington s Downtown/ Warne r, M. (2010). City of Burlington, Vermont. Planning for Family Friendly Communities: Case Vignette. Friendly Communities Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. Retrieved January 19, 2012 from: http://government.cce.cornell.edu/doc/pdf/case_burlington1.pdf

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85 Revitalization through Downtown. Retrieved January 25, 2012 from: http://www.co.lancaster.pa.us/planning/lib/planning/whalen_1.pdf

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86 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Ivelisse Justiniano was born in the island of Puerto Rico. She receive d a in environmental sciences and g eography from the University of Puerto Rico in December of 2008. Immediately af ter graduation she moved to Florida to start graduate school at the University of Florida There she began her studies in urban a nd regional planning. During the summer of 2009 she worked as an urban planning intern for the Planning Department in the C ity of Caguas, Puerto Rico. While working in the planning department she participated in the urban traditional center revitalization project. While working with contractors and their development projects she felt motivated to learn more about business topics. She decided that the best way to do this was to pursue a concurrent degree in the school of business. She began a second degree in management at Hough Graduate School of Business in the University of Florida. Upon graduation she has worked as a transportation planner intern in the Public Works Department in the City of Gainesville, Florida. Her career object ives besides working as a professional urban planner are to gain experience in the fields of economic development and affordable housing and someday own a private consulting firm to practice community planning in Puerto Rico