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Ilana Preuss: Planning for an Inclusive Economy: How Small-Scale Manufacturing Businesses Create Places that are Stronger, More Resilient, and More Loved

photo of people on street with tents

October 2, 2020 10:10 a.m.

Virtual, via Zoom


Ilana Preuss (B.S. URS ’96) is the Founder of Recast City LLC, a consulting firm that works with city leaders, real estate developers, and other civic leaders to integrate space for small-scale producers into redevelopment projects and place-based economic development. She is passionate about making great places and sees that small-scale manufacturers are a missing piece in today’s mixed-use development and commercial property repositioning. With over 20 years of experience in city development, Preuss works with real estate developers, economic development corporations, and other local leaders to go from idea to plan to action to build great places with vibrant economies. She supports businesses and organizations to develop strategies with measurable and achievable outcomes.
Preuss’ passion for great places grew out of her experience working with big and small cities all over the country when she led the technical assistance program at the U.S. EPA Smart Growth Program, and as the Vice President and Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America. Now through her work at Recast City, Preuss works with business leaders to understand the local small-scale manufacturing sector, discover the potential to enhance real estate development, and tap state and federal resources for support. She works with real estate developers to integrate small-scale manufacturing businesses into new and rehab products to increase a project’s value and draw people to the target neighborhood. She works with economic development authorities to identify key assets in the local community and build goals and tactics to create vibrant and sustainable economic growth. Preuss’ forthcoming book, Recast Your City, will be released by Island Press in 2021.
Preuss’ projects at Recast City span the country, from Washington, D.C. to Honolulu, Hawaii. Through work with real estate developers, foundations, city planning and economic development offices, and with mayors, she develops demand analyses, economic development strategies, and business-retention and planning policies. Her technique of intensive one-on-one engagement with local business owners and other stakeholders provides clients with a deep understanding of local challenges and opportunities for success.
In 2017, Preuss coauthored, Made in PLACE: Small-Scale Manufacturing and Placemaking, in partnership with Smart Growth America and funded by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and she coauthored, Discovering Your City’s Maker Economy, a field guide for National League of Cities, in partnership with NLC, Etsy, and the Urban Manufacturing Alliance. She also authored a chapter in Creative Placemaking, a publication by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Preuss is an experienced speaker, see her keynote presentation “Small-Scale Manufacturing and Main Street: The Secret Sauce” at the 2020 North Carolina Main Street conference in Bern, North Carolina, and her TEDx presentation, “The Economic Power of Great Places.” She is a regular press spokesperson featured in the New York Times and USA Today. Preuss received an undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and a Masters in City Planning from the University of Maryland.


The decision of which businesses are allowed on main street, in downtown, and in other commercial areas impacts who wins and who loses in access to economic opportunity. Planners have a responsibility to think about who gets to use the space, and how we create space for local ownership and more local opportunity, as we create or redefine a place. Small-scale manufacturing businesses (any business that makes a tangible product) are a key missing piece to create more inclusive and equitable wealth-building opportunities in our communities. Join this talk to learn about national trends for this business sector, how it helps create thriving places, and its role in weaving economic opportunity with planning decision making to strengthen our communities.

If you would like to attend this lecture, please register here.

Paige Glotzer: Racial Capitalism, Residential Segregation, and Unequal Access to Housing in the United States

aerial view of neighborhood with houses and highways

CRP Colloquium Lecture Series

September 18, 2020 10:10 a.m.


Paige Glotzer is an assistant professor and John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Chair in the History of American Politics, Institutions, and Political Economy in the History Department at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She researches the history of housing segregation in the nineteenth and twentieth century. She brings together discussions of political economy, cultural history, and the spatial construction of difference. Her first book, How the Suburbs were Segregated, charts how suburban developers ushered in modern housing segregation with the help of transnational financiers, real estate institutions, and public policymakers. The effects of their efforts continue to be felt today. She is also interested in the connections between the rise of Jim Crow and colonialism and slavery worldwide. She recently completed a digital project that maps the British investors who financed one of the first segregated suburbs in the U.S. Paige received her Ph.D. in History from Johns Hopkins University.

Suzanne Lanyi Charles‘s teaching and research examine physical, social, and economic changes in older inner-ring suburban neighborhoods. In particular, her research addresses infill redevelopment and mansionization, the financialization of housing, and single-family rental housing (SFR). Her current research examines whether SFR provides access to spatially constituted opportunity structures in suburbia or, rather, reinforces segregation by race and income in the region. Her research has received grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell, and the President’s Council of Cornell Women.

Charles worked as an architect at the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Paris, a vice president at Booth Hansen Architects in Chicago, and also as a real estate consultant at the Weitzman Group in New York City. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture. She received her doctorate in urban planning from Harvard University in 2011.


This colloquium session examines the role of racial capitalism in the creation and maintenance of segregation and unequal access to housing in the United States. Centrally implicated in the ongoing discriminatory practices are the real estate industry and the urban planners and policymakers who presided over the establishment of policies that created and maintained unequal access to housing. We must do better. This event aims to foster an understanding of past practices and to inform positive change in policies and practice, bringing together scholars from African American studies, American history, public policy, political science, and sociology. Each speaker will give introductory remarks and then respond to provocations from faculty and students.

Cosponsored by the Baker Program in Real Estate

If you would like to attend this lecture, please register here.aerial view of neighborhood with houses and highways

Samuel Coons (M.R.P./M.L.A. ’21) Shares Research on Creative Placemaking in Detroit, MI

photo of art mural above lawn with trees and houses in background
Resilience and Song by Hubert Massey, Ella Fitzgerald Park, Detroit Michigan Samuel Coons

John W. and Constance P. Reps Research Award Presentation

September 21, 2020, 5:00 p.m., via Zoom (open to the public)



Samuel Coons (B.S. URS ’17, M.R.P./M.L.A. ’21) is a graduate student pursuing a master of Regional Planning and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees at Cornell University. His work examines narratives of place in the cities of the Great Lakes. Originally from Rochester, New York, he completed his bachelor of science in Urban and Regional Studies at Cornell University and has held positions with the Center for Regional Economic Advancement at Cornell University, the Planning and Development Department in the City of Detroit, and the Arts and Culture Program at the Kresge Foundation.


In the face of pernicious narratives of decline, how do community builders in Detroit, Michigan use artistic expression to communicate, negotiate, and implement their visions of the future? Scholarship on the role of the arts in community development, increasingly situated within the growing literature on Creative Placemaking, often focuses on how artists catalyze change in the built environment. Less studied is how the adoption of artistic practices affects the visions and values of community organizers, community development practitioners, and municipal planning staff. This presentation introduces research conducted with support from the John W. and Constance P. Reps Research Award, documenting the stories and reflections of such actors in Detroit who center artistic expression in their community-building work.

If you would like to attend this lecture, please email the department ( to receive Zoom information.

URS Students Launch campus.scape

graphic with grayscale photo with yellow highights and blue and black background

By Savanna Lim (B.S. URS ’21) and Gianni Valenti (B.S. URS/B.L.A. ’22)

Savanna Lim and Gianni Valenti launched @campus.scape, a multidisciplinary project that exists online and through a semesterly publication that aims to highlight planning and design issues adjacent to college campus around the world.

They came up with the idea over the summer when they realized many young people were affected by planning issues but lacked the understanding and infrastructure to deconstruct planning practices.

They are currently looking for fellow students to join their team! If you are interested in becoming part of campus.scape, email them at campus.scape[at]gmail[dot]com with the role you’re interested in, why you’re interested, and your favorite city in the headline (i.e. Graphic Designer – Singapore).

They are currently looking to fill the following positions:

Graphic Designers

Content Editors and Creators

Media Makers

Business Savvy Pals

CRP Research Seminar: How Will U.S. and Chinese Cities Respond to the Fiscal Crisis of 2020? Lessons from the Great Recession

graphic of frog in black pot with fire with black text

September 11, 2020, 10:10 a.m., via Zoom.


Austin M. Aldag (M.R.P. ’18) is currently a Ph.D. student within the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. His research agenda focuses broadly on local governance, the delivery of public services, federalism, and inter-governmental relations, all within the United States. Aldag has published in various academic journals, including, but not limited to, The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory; Public Administration Review; Public Management Review; and Publius: The Journal of Federalism.

Yuanshuo Xu (M.R.P. ’13, Ph.D. ’19) is an assistant professor at Zhejiang University, China, where he studies economic development, state decentralization, and specializes in spatial analysis of the U.S. and China. His work has been published in academic publications like The Journal of Economic Policy ReformEnvironment and Planning A: Economy and Space, and Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society. He served as a post-doctoral associate within City and Regional Planning, where he obtained both his M.R.P. and Ph.D. He has a B.S. from the China University of Mining and Technology.

Mark Davidson is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Geography, Clark University. His current research investigates trends in municipal governance, and he has an international reputation for his research on gentrification and critical urban theory. He holds a B.A. (Hons) and Ph.D. in Geography from King’s College London.


Local government fiscal stress can be understood through various lenses. A popular, but misconceived lens in the US and western Europe is austerity urbanism, when the data shows pragmatic municipal responses. A popular lens in China is the growth machine, when asymmetric state rescaling is more accurate. Aldag and Xu will present a set of papers, conducted as part of Professor Warner’s Local Government Restructuring Lab. These papers use broad national data and sophisticated modeling techniques to look at the diversity of responses across the U.S. and China and the role of higher levels of government in a multi-scalar governance system. Understanding divergent paths are important as planners attempt to put local government responses to fiscal stress in context. Implications for the coming COVID-19 recession will be discussed.


Lecture is open to the public. If you would like to attend this lecture, please email the department ( to receive Zoom information.

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