Block-by-block revitalization doesn’t have to be — and really shouldn’t be — dependent on huge grants and massive development projects. We call this the “trickle or the fire hose” cycle: a neighborhood can have virtually no reinvestment and redevelopment...and then suddenly undergo a transformation that leaves the place unrecognizable in just a few years.

So what’s a community to do? One approach is to follow the lead of Paul Stewart and the Oswego Renaissance Association (ORA) in Oswego, New York. The ORA provides small matching grants (up to $1,000 per home) and other resources to blocks of individuals who want... (More)