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Community Engagement Drives Change Downtown

November 6, 2014
To draw the community into an ongoing conversation, the city of Hagerstown, MD, launched its engageHagerstown website. The city posts questions and moderates discussions about important topics that will shape the future of the downtown. The inaugural question was: “What’s your big idea for downtown?” That first question generated “a ton of feedback,” says Sarah…Continue reading


Changing Perceptions About Downtown Parking

October 23, 2014
Over the past four years, the Norwalk Parking Authority in Norwalk, CT, has transformed negative public perceptions about parking while also improving the motorist experience and increasing revenues. Rebranding the parking system, lighthearted promotions, and art in parking garages all helped to spread the word about the ease of downtown parking. A “Mr. Smiley” parking…Continue reading


Bicycle Lanes, Stations, and Share Programs

October 10, 2014
As Americans become more focused on fitness and the environment, commuters, as well as recreationalists, are learning the value of pedal power. As a result, projects to boost bike-centric amenities in city centers are flourishing. This month Downtown Idea Exchange newsletter looks at bike share programs, making way for bikes on city-center streets, and facilities for…Continue reading


Multiple Goals Means Multiple Funding Sources

September 12, 2014
Ambitious projects to revitalize underutilized green space in Charlotte, NC, are improving the quality of life for residents and downtown employees while also showcasing all that the city has to offer, and providing vital connections that bring more people downtown. The Little Sugar Creek Greenway project included restoration of an urban stream and creation of…Continue reading


Courting Successful Business Owners

July 17, 2014
A new initiative in Gardiner, ME, is encouraging businesses with a proven track record in other communities to open new downtown locations. Two years of planning and consideration went into the program design, which is being hailed as, “a model for redevelopment efforts” statewide. Businesses accepted into the program are eligible for a number of…Continue reading


Public Space Fitness Programs Draw Crowds

July 3, 2014
Dance, yoga, CrossFit, and more are enlivening public spaces in downtowns across North America. In one example, the Waterfront Partnership in Baltimore, MD, offers a Waterfront Wellness Series on weekend mornings from late May through late September, which includes free yoga, boot camp, CrossFit, and Zumba. “I think a lot of us have gym memberships,…Continue reading