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Putting a Plan in Place: The Urban Redevelopment Process
Putting a Plan in Place: The Urban Redevelopment Process

We’ve discussed plenty about urban design and development in previous blogs and what it entails for communities across the United States. However, there’s much more that goes into planning development before the actual implementation of a plan. And while the urban redevelopment process can become long and tedious at times, it considers multiple factors and always puts forward the best interests of those living in a targeted area for redevelopment. By understanding the process, you’ll know the work that goes into the property’s redevelopment and how the result affects you.

What is Urban Redevelopment?

Urban redevelopment (urban renewal) is the act of designating typically already urban areas to be rezoned and redeveloped from low-density to high-density property. Many cities have seen their urban redevelopment projects turn run-down housing into mixed-use or commercial development. And just as much as the local government gets involved with urban redevelopment, the local community votes to make decisions on the project going forward.

What is the Process?

A city’s government can’t “announce” plans for urban redevelopment on the fly. There’s extensive research that first takes place to determine whether an area is truly in need of redevelopment. Afterward, a plan is put forth, the community decides whether they approve of the plan presented, and the redevelopment can then begin.


Before any agreements are made, and plans are considered, a thorough study of the land in question must be completed. Such a study will determine if an area qualifies for urban redevelopment by meeting criteria for blight, as defined by local or state governments. Blight, or urban decay, is measured by several factors of an area:

  • Disrepair of Property
  • Deindustrialization
  • Depopulation
  • Abandoned Property
  • Poverty Levels

If an area is at abnormally high levels for several or all these measurements, it can qualify for urban redevelopment.


Once the research is complete, the planning phase for urban redevelopment can begin. As the local government spearheads most redevelopment initiatives, a legal framework for an acceptable redevelopment amount must be established. Furthermore, funding for the redevelopment must be proposed, whether from taxpayer dollars, the city coffers, the state government, etc.

A complete urban redevelopment plan should also set the goals it wishes to achieve after the final project is complete. For example, some common goals may include:

  • Attracting more businesses or residents
  • Better utilizing space
  • Preserving areas of historical significance
  • Helping to reduce the poverty level of the area
  • Expanding transportation infrastructure
  • And more

Community Involvement

After an urban redevelopment plan is in place, the final thing to be done before it begins is to get a community’s input. As most plans hope to utilize financing through taxes, the residents of the area to be focused on are given a say in whether they want the plan to be amended or move forward. Often, in this time between planning and implementation, a redevelopment plan will go through multiple changes to best serve the community it will affect.

Another factor you might consider, as a resident of an area targeted by urban redevelopment, is what the city is offering you to allow them to redevelop your property. In most cases, if you live in or own property the city is interested in, they will offer you continued ownership in that property equal to your current stake. Or, you might be presented with an option of a buyout if continued ownership isn’t something you’re interested in. The point being, the city wants you and your area to prosper, and they will help you be a part of ongoing urban development or offer you a suitable amount if you wish not to be a part of the area’s renewal.

Urban Redevelopment at Work

The Greater Peoria area has undergone numerous urban redevelopment projects, both big and small. For example, you can consider the recent years spent investing in and updating the Riverfront District one of Peoria’s most significant urban redevelopments. This project was done on a larger scale and heavily affected residents, small businesses and industries alike. What was once an area of warehouses and distilleries is now a booming district full of apartments, restaurants, entertainment and more.

Like the Riverfront District, but done on a smaller scale, urban redevelopment contributed to the Peoria Civic Center building. Multiple blocks of land were leveled and rezoned to make room for the Civic Center. And to this day, the City of Peoria owns and maintains the Peoria Civic Center, making financial and expansion decisions through the Peoria City Council.

Contributing to the Urban Redevelopment Effort

Over the years, Austin Engineering has contributed to the urban redevelopment efforts undertaken throughout the Greater Peoria area. As a civil engineering company and professional land surveyors, we provide services both private landowners and municipalities take advantage of. And if considering an urban redevelopment project or any other land development project for yourself, Austin Engineering can provide the support you need. To learn more, call us today at 309-204-0694. Also, our Peoria office is located at 311 Southwest Water St, Ste 215, Peoria, IL 61602.