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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

December 1, 2020
Ice bars provide frosty entertainment — Hospitality venues in Lake George, NY, know a lot about how to entertain outdoors in frosty winter weather. When the temperatures dip, they open their ice bars. See a video produced by the county tourism department below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9921lPCbrE ...

City uses consumer marketing, business grants to keep downtown active — In Chandler, AZ, city officials are combatting the coronavirus downturn by marketing local businesses to consumers. The “I Choose Chandler” ad below reminds viewers that the city’s restaurants, gyms, clothing boutiques, and barbershops are open for business.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SinS9wZckng&feature=youtu.be ...

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Downtown Rethinks Approach to Parking

November 19, 2020
Does downtown Memphis, TN, have too much parking, or too little? The complicated answer is "Yes" to both queries. "It really depends on when, where, and how far away you want to park," says Brett Roler, vice president of planning and development at the Downtown Memphis Commission. Visitors can struggle to find spots at peak…Continue reading

 

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Can Outdoor Dining Coexist with Winter?

November 5, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many downtowns to rethink their outdoor spaces. By summer, downtown leaders had adapted — vacant lots, sidewalks, and even streets gave way to al fresco dining. Now, though, the changing of the seasons will present a new challenge: Are downtown visitors willing to sit outside when the weather turns cold? "Everybody…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

November 1, 2020
Goodbye suburban malls, hello walkable shopping districts — Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the retail landscape was changing dramatically. The COVID-19 recession has accelerated merchants’ move back to Main Street. Read about downtown bans on national chains in this archive article. ...

Design playbook showcases pandemic solutions — The Canadian Urban Institute and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada have released the Main Street Design Challenge Playbook, a collection of design solutions that can be implemented during and after the pandemic. ...

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Outdoor Kiosks Breathe New Life Into Downtown

October 22, 2020
A concept born from desperation offers inspiration for downtown leaders grappling with the pandemic. In tiny Tionesta, PA, a long-vacant lot was transformed into an outdoor shopping experience and business incubator using garden sheds. The project started during a 2012 meeting of the Forest County Industrial Development Corp. and the Forest County Industrial & Commercial…Continue reading

 

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Street Performers Draw Visitors Downtown

October 8, 2020
A few years ago, Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis experienced something of a dress rehearsal for the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pedestrian street was disrupted by construction in 2018, pedestrian traffic dropped from 20,000 people a day to 13,000. "It was kind of a ghost town during construction," says Lisa Middag, director of Nicollet Activation…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

October 1, 2020
In one downtown, self-parking garage shows glimpse of future — In an initiative that promises to reduce the amount of downtown space devoted to parking, Ford, auto parts maker Bosch, and a prominent landlord in Detroit are developing a self-parking garage in that city’s downtown. See Ford’s video of its automated valet project below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok9ACzmGpUA ...

Outdoor kiosks breathe new life into long-dormant space — In downtown Muskeegan, MI, an empty block was filled with small businesses in pop-up chalets. Read the full story in this archive article.  ...

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Annual Festival Transformed

September 24, 2020
For the past 19 years, people have flocked to the annual Blueberry Festival in downtown Marquette, MI. The summertime favorite features sidewalk sales, food vendors, crafts, blueberry specials, pony rides, children’s activities, and inflatables. For 2020, the event was transformed from Blueberry Fest to Blueberry Quest. Starting the morning of Friday, July 31, 20 "blueberry"…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Takes Cleaning, Distancing Seriously, But Not Too Seriously

September 10, 2020
In Rosslyn, VA, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the form of purple stickers, signs, and banners placed throughout the 17-block Business Improvement District. The eye-catching additions include slogans such as "Rosslyn Ready" and "Clean Safe Connected." Dispensing stations for sanitizing wipes carry the phrase, "Clean it like you mean it." The steps…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

September 1, 2020
Curbside commerce, vacant-lot dining: Coronavirus inspires creative concepts — The city of Baltimore’s Design for Distancing contest is a program created to elicit ideas for innovative responses to the COVID-19 recession. The competition brought more than 160 entries, many from architects and urban design firms.  Read the Design for Distancing Ideas Guidebook. ...

“Environmental design” can contain crime, to an extent — Billings, MT has turned to the concept of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) to discourage loitering, public drunkenness, and vandalism. See the...

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International CPTED Association’s clear-eyed look at homelessness and environmental design . ...

Downtown takes cleaning, distancing seriously — but not too seriously — In Rosslyn, VA, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the form of purple stickers, signs, and banners placed throughout the 17-block Business Improvement District. Check out some photos of the ...

Rosslyn Ready signage . ...

Portable pop-up retail — Pop-up retail is part of the downtown development initiative in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. The city envisions businesses popping up in refurbished shipping containers. Read an archive article about creative retail space using shipping containers. ...

Iconic spaces reimagined — Nine bold concepts for Washington, DC spaces were developed by regional architects and designers for Washingtonian magazine.  ...

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Downtown Leaders, Stronger Together

August 27, 2020
In Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, several organizations and the city have come together to position the downtown for reopening. "Over the years, we’ve had different groups working on the revitalization and development of downtown," says Andrew Malcolm, urban revitalization manager for the city. "We felt that we could be more successful in promoting the amazing things…Continue reading

 

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