Downtown Revitalization

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Revitalization efforts in downtown areas have gained momentum over the past few decades, this paper is focused on revitalization strategies, recognizing the process of decline, while identifying key strategies used in downtown revitalization efforts over the past fifty years (Faulk 2006). Downtowns, unlike suburban shopping malls or office complexes, evolved slowly over time, responding to changing technologies, social and economic patterns. A city’s identity relies heavily on the image of its downtown, so inevitably cities of all sizes commit themselves to achieving successful downtown redevelopment (Robertson 1995). As I have been reading literature on downtown revitalization a number of strategies and principles have surfaced. Many of…show more content…
Before the 1870’s downtowns where not developed as a centralized retail district, but catered exclusively to the immediate population (Ward 1971). Early Downtown Development Many downtowns first emerged as a distinctive place due to elite residents with homes in the area, which served as meeting places for important business transactions. By the late 19th century downtowns had typically been laid out with designated business blocks (Ford 2003). The growth of the business block as an economic center and booming downtown forced out any competition that were not appropriate with “high rents, social pressure and architectural change” (Ford 2003, pp 45). This was the origin of the spatial structure and land use patterns that are associated with contemporary downtowns. The origin of the town structure is most commonly affiliated with European cities as models of spatial layout. Specialty business and retail districts that characterized American downtowns and what we now image a good downtown to be are directly linked to it European counterpart. The key characteristic that defer from the European model was the tendency for American cities to be street-oriented rather then place-oriented. This contributed to the more linear structure of the city, business pursued locations on the “main street” rather then near major plazas or religious buildings (Robertson 1997). A Change of Pace:
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