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A Case Study in Reviving a Dying Downtown

Marcus Westbury’s new book, Creating Cities, describes the small-scale fixes that helped Newcastle, Australia.
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Tim J Keegan / Flickr

In a way, there’s nothing special about Newcastle, Australia. Like a lot of other places around the world, this small city on the nation’s southeastern shore grew and flourished because of heavy industry—steel, in this case—and declined when that industry collapsed toward the end of the 20th century. Despite a still-thriving coal trade and an active port, Newcastle’s downtown emptied out, and its once-bustling central business district became blighted.

In his new book, Creating Cities, Newcastle native Marcus Westbury describes the scene he found in his hometown in 2007: