Economic Development, Part 1: Vibrant Main Streets and Downtown Development

Historic neighborhoods were designed and built around social values – proximity to transportation, neighborhood amenities, pedestrian-friendly streets – that are being continually rediscovered. Often these neighborhoods are on the fringes before they regain their former glory. This session will look at general strategies for creating revitalized and successful commercial districts. Participants will look at case examples from across the country to recognize common characteristics of successful programs. Included is a review of tools for planning better historic commercial districts, from proximity, to scale, accessibility, character, and a broad range of management strategies for fostering vibrant, historic commercial districts.

Learning Objectives

  1. Examine a four point approach for the revitalization of historic districts.
  2. Identify the defining features of a neighborhood and learn strategies for promoting a neighborhood’s sense of place.
  3. Learn the common misconceptions about rehabilitating historic properties and how they affect property values.
  4. Use case examples of successful Main Street revitalization programs to identify common characteristics and approaches to success.


  • Doug Loescher, Principal, Civic Strategies Group

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