Downtowns & Town Centers

Many cities and towns are seeking to revitalize or create a hub for their community. These articles and postings focus on the planning issues facing downtown & town center development.

Continue to older articles & posts — or return to newer ones — where you see the green buttons at the bottom of the page.

Public Buildings Keep Town Centers Alive

Public Buildings Keep Town Centers Alive

Post offices, municipal halls, libraries, courthouses, and other public buildings can play a critical role in keeping downtowns and town centers strong. Conversely, the loss of key public buildings can seriously damage the fabric of downtown.

stack of building blocks spelling out "one step at a time"

Downtowns Grow One Step at a Time

Local entrepreneurs, working building by building, can be the most effective resource in strengthening downtowns. Author and lecturer Roberta Gratz recounts the step-at-a-time revitalization efforts that are having a big impact in Columbus, Ohio.

sidewalk paving detail from Barcelona. photo by Wayne Senville

An Introduction to Urban Design

What do you see when you walk down the main street of your city? Are the buildings and public spaces interesting to look at? Do you feel comfortable and secure? In this well-illustrated 7 page article, planner and landscape architect Ilene Watson provides an introduction to urban design..

Inside busy farmers market in Montreal

To Market, To Market

Local farmers’ markets provide one of the best ways of increasing downtown activity, while offering a valuable outlet for area farmers. Author and lecturer Roberta Brandes Gratz takes a closer look at the role farmers’ markets can play — and why they’ve become so popular.