One of the underlying principles of Jacobs' work is that the renovation (or gentrification if you prefer that term) downtrodden areas of cities cannot happen until the area hits a certain low point, it's "bottom". Once a neighborhood is nearly abandoned and the property values are at fire-sale levels, it's ripe for developers and gentrifying homebuyers to use a little money on purchase and a lot on rehab or construction... and for that to happen to not just one spot in the neighborhood, but lots of them. I currently live in one such revitalized neighborhood, Columbia Heights.
Columbia Heights wasn't so much a dangerous area, just... abandoned. There wasn't enough here for even criminals to be interested.
Columbia Heights 2004
Columbia Heights 2011
That's just one commercial corner; similar photos could be shown of all the nearby residential and mixed-use streets.
That's what this is. Or it's Two-Face hideout.
And before moving here, I lived on U Street from 17 years, which has a similar history. Part of this 'hit bottom' principle is that well-meaning attempts, usually by local governments, to forestall the degeneration of a neighborhood actually prolong the problem. By preventing the natural socioeconomic forces from degrading and then revamping a neighborhood, the 'biomic succession' by which a crappy, abandoned area becomes the new hip place-to-be can't take place.
Which brings us to the DCU. There are many characters that, like neighborhoods primed for gentrification, have hit bottom, became ripe for revamping and then roar back to vitality when some creators do a refresh. Vibe is a great example. Animal Man. Doom Patrol. Heck, the Bronze Age Batman (as much as I make fun of him) is the result of Batman having descended so far into camp (e.g., "Bat-Hulk') that he was ripe for Denny O'Neil's remake of him.
Gosh, the list gets longer and longer, the more you think about it. Wonder Woman. Dial H. Superman. Aquaman. The Legion. Supergirl. Barry and Hal had to DIE before they hit bottom and could be revitalized. A case could be made that the entire DCU itself is 'neighborhood' that got rundown and the New52 is its gentrification (which some people think, like real gentrification, robs the original place of too much of its native charm).
What I really want to talk with you about isn't those revamps; it's the efforts to prevent the characters from hitting bottom that delayed their revamps. For me, the most obvious example is: the entirety of Bronze Age Batman. But that's just me.
Shazam and Aquaman experienced about 20 years of such stop-gap efforts that you could argue actually delayed the characters from a proper revamp. There are others. Hal Jordan's 47 careers changes. Every version of Hawkman after the Bronze Age (except Palmieri's).
What characters do you think are currently receiving this treatment? Being prevented, by well-meaning but misguided attempts to keep the characters afloat, from 'hitting bottom' and then getting a decent and dramatic revamp?