June 9, 2017
Today’s 5 on Friday looks at resources for building and sustaining vibrant downtowns.
Downtowns are distinct from other commercial settings. They are multi-functional, serving as a place for employment, shopping, worship, tourism, housing, government services, dining, entertainment, lodging, and cultural attractions, all within a compact area that is easily walkable.
Five resources for building and sustaining vibrant downtowns
Small Cities Working to Create Vibrant Downtowns - Case studies in Prince George and Squamish BC. Their downtown revitalization tactics include enhancing walkability, improving access to the waterfront, and establishing business friendly bylaws. https://thetyee.ca/News/2009/06/23/SmallCitiesWorking/
12 Strategies That Will Transform Your City’s Downtown - 12 big ticket, big resource ideas for redeveloping downtowns. These tactics include making under-utilized public land available for private sector development, creating permanent public markets and establishing a downtown satellite campus of a local university. http://urbanscale.com/blog/12-strategies-will-transform-citys-downtown/
The Reality of Main Street – This article from the Brookings Institution says that retail alone won’t save your downtown. The article provides examples of communities creating vibrant downtowns by creating quality public spaces, prioritizing local entrepreneurship, and supporting downtown housing. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/metropolitan-revolution/2017/04/20/the-reality-of-main-street/
Challenges and Advantages of Revitalization of Small Cities – This report from Strong Towns introduces the Mayberry Condition ; a desire to keep things the way they are or return to “the good old days.” It also identifies advantages such as the 'Ease of impact' where it is easier for residents to collectively rally behind an event or cause, in a small town. https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016/4/14/revitalization-of-small-cities-challenges-and-advantages
Small town retail trend: shared spaces – a quick read on a solution for small towns struggling to fill big downtown buildings that were previously department stores or large retailers. This article suggests dividing up these large buildings, and turning them over to a whole bunch of tiny businesses to grow.