Downtowns & Main Streets

Avoiding a Nightmare on Main Street: Handling Conflicts Between Living & Playing Downtown

July 29th, 2014

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Downtowns are once again becoming the place to live, work, and play. A growing number of our downtowns are providing a smorgasbord of uses with the hopes of creating thriving, 24/7 hubs of activity. This new resurgence has taken on a slightly different mix of uses from the downtowns of old. The new downtowns are being built on daytime attractions and nighttime entertainment.

Restaurants and nightclubs bring life back to downtowns, as here in Binghampton, NY. Photo by Tony, Flickr Creative Commons license.
Restaurants and nightclubs bring life back to downtowns, as here in Binghampton, NY. Photo by Eric, Flickr Creative Commons license.

However, as more and more residents make their home in downtown neighborhoods, conflicts are on the rise -- a side effect from thriving entertainment districts.

Although many of the new residents repopulating downtowns are young and enjoy an active nightlife, noise ordinances are being tested.

Conflicts between neighborhood associations and late night music venues have given pause to planning and zoning board members when approving mixed-use developments.

Clubbing on 6th Street in Austin, TX. Photo by Andy, Flickr Creative Commons license.
Clubbing on 6th Street in Austin, TX. Photo by Andy, Flickr Creative Commons license.

When there is a concentration of activity and a mix of uses, conflicts naturally arise. City administrators, planning commissioners, and sometimes local police can end up serving as mediators between conflicting uses. ...

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