The central focus of a city or town’s retail, housing, employment and civic identity must not be lost to fringe suburban districts or adjacent communities. A downtown must be more than simply a collection of specialty retail shops and civic uses. The best downtowns have thriving retail, restaurants, and evening entertainment. The downtown investment environment is significantly eroded when these uses leave and the downtown is hollowed out.
The good news is that market and demographic conditions have not been better for revitalizing downtowns in many years. Large or small downtowns can attract expanding markets only if they have a bold yet realistic strategy that meets the fundamental needs of these market segments.