Low Cost, High Impact Building Improvements Downtown

In today’s tough economic climate, it is easy to look past things that, on the surface, may seem like low-priority items. We tend to draw the purse strings tight for things that are not immediate necessities. This article discusses the importance of the maintenance and appearance of a downtown commercial building within a community.

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Preparing for Economic Recovery

The current economic crisis has devastated many small towns and downtowns across America, leaving in its path empty storefronts, deserted streets and long unemployment lines. Downtowns are important because they serve multiple purposes and represent the hearts of communities. Downtowns exist not only for commerce but for social gathering, walking, communicating, exercising, entertaining and other community activities. Many people and industry prospects gauge the entire community based on the appearance and atmosphere of its downtown. This issue focuses on strategies that aim towards reversing this downward spiral.

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Branding for Downtown Success

In economic times like these, building excitement about downtown and cultivating local loyalty is more important than ever. Branding is an essential part of fostering the sense of community that keeps residents interested in downtown and that makes the community an attractive destination for visitors and potential residents. Good community branding can have a number of positive impacts: it can increase exposure for existing businesses and be a recruitment tool in building a more complimentary business mix. It can also boost retail traffic and attract residents to the downtown area. Successful branding can aid downtown and community organizations, increasing both volunteerism and giving, by increasing the credibility of revitalization efforts. Poorly executed branding, however, can have just the opposite effect. Therefore it is important to proceed carefully.

~Thumbnail taken by Jeff Miller of UW Wisconsin

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Supporting Entrepreneurship Downtown

An effective entrepreneurial development strategy involves creating a climate that is supportive of the entrepreneur. Downtown can be the central place for launching such efforts. The following are insights shared by Greg Wise of the University of Wisconsin-Extension and Todd Barman of the National Trust Main Street Center on how to make your downtown more supportive of entrepreneurship.

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Why Downtowns will Shine After the Economic Storm

While the depth and duration of the current recession is still uncertain, there are compelling reasons to be optimistic about downtown’s ability to rebound after the recession. There are clear opportunities for downtowns to take advantage of consumer, economic, and environmental trends that will direct activity back to our central business districts. While downtowns are all different, their leaders should consider the five opportunities found in this issue as they prepare for recovery

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Ten Global Trends Affecting Downtowns

Profound changes are occurring across the globe, and it is often difficult to understand and translate these changes on the local level. Progressive Urban Management Associates compiled and analyzed research to assist downtowns and communities better anticipate and respond to global change. This article presents ten major trends affecting American downtowns were identified in order to provide perspective and discussion in considering these forces in local decisions.

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Green Downtowns – Environmentally-Responsible Practices for Business Districts

The ”greening” of downtown has become increasingly common across North America and Europe. Green downtowns promote environmentally-responsible practices and offer a range of economic advantages. While this trend is partially fueled by an overall growth in “green” consumers it is primarily driven by the fact that a green downtown is a desirable place to live, work, and visit. There is no specific formula to make a downtown green: indeed, this effort is largely based upon the unique attributes and passionate creativity of eachcommunity. This issue suggests some specific initiatives, ranging from simple to more involved, that can assist your community advance its own greening of downtown

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Developing Effective Business Recruitment Materials

Once a market analysis has been completed, a community can use the information to develop business recruitment materials that showcase market potential. Recruitment materials can be a useful tool to attract usiness investment to their business district. Business investment could include new or expanded retail, services, restaurants, housing, offices and other uses. These materials can also serve business retention and expansion efforts. This article explores some of the most common elements of successful business recruitment materials.

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Downtown Revitalization and Enhancing Sense of Place- Remembering the Work of Kent Robertson

Kent Robertson, a leader in the field of downtown revitalization, has passed away at the age of 53. Kent has worked in the field since 1980 as a researcher, teacher, speaker, writer, and consultant. He was widely published and a frequent conference presenter and keynote speaker. He believed the heart of a community was its original downtown. His nationally respected work reached communities across the country.A summary of one of his presentations on downtowns’ sense of place is provided here. This summary, a reprint of the October 2000 issue, provides valuable ideas on how we can make downtown more attractive to both consumers and businesses.

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