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.

building icon

Density Without High-Rises?

High-rise buildings are not necessarily the best answer to promoting denser, more walkable communities, argues Urban Land Institute Senior Resident Fellow & PCJ contributing writer Ed McMahon.

view inside Hudson, Ohio, library

Hudson’s Star Attraction

How the public library has become the community hub for the town of Hudson, Ohio — and the key to a strong downtown and main street..

Jim Brozena in Wilkes-Barre

Punching Through the Walls

How Luzerne County and the City of Wilkes-Barre are integrating the riverfront with downtown, through the creation of a new riverfront park, with giant flood control portals cutting the embankment.

Housing is located a block away from Saratoga Springs' main street

Downtown Housing -Minus Parking +Plus Commercial

The residents and business owners of Saratoga Springs, New York, treasure their downtown. Two planning priorities: increase the amount of housing downtown and ensure retail on the ground floor of buildings.

Read at your library poster

“A Harbor You Can Sail Into”

Those are the words that Stephen Coronella used to describe the role of the Putney, Vermont, public library. Like a harbor. It provides a place where people can dock themselves for a while, socialize with others, and feel some comfort and security.

photos from Main Street mill in Richford, Vermont

Main Street Mill: “The Perfect Trifecta”

I returned to the small town of Richford, Vermont, as the starting point of my travel plans for this Spring. I had visited Richford last Summer to first learn about the Main Street Mill redevelopment.

cartoon image of a grocery cart full of food

Wanted: Downtown Grocery Stores

As Americans’ taste for downtown living grows, so does their appetite for downtown grocery stores. So, why is it still rare to see a grocery store downtown? Economic development consultant Kennedy Smith provides some answers.

cartoon image of a hurdler

Downtown Hurdles

It should be no harder to develop downtown than elsewhere. Yet, as PCJ columnist Kennedy Smith argues, too many regulatory hurdles often face downtown development.