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Housing Fair and Incentives Attract New Residents

February 11, 2015
To overcome negative perceptions that might discourage new residents, the city of Dundalk, MD, launched a branding campaign backed by an ambitious public engagement process, and featuring a new website, media partnerships, public events, incentives for home purchases, and more. Central to the program was a housing and neighborhood tour hosted by the Dundalk Renaissance…Continue reading


Increasing Demand for Urban Living

January 29, 2015
The January issue of Downtown Idea Exchange looks ahead to some of the challenges and opportunities that face downtown leaders in 2015. One of many important trends is an influx of millennials and baby boomers seeking urban living. This group is creating the most demand for downtown housing, as well as specific types of amenities,…Continue reading


Vibrant Street Scene Emerges in Downtown Pittsburgh

December 30, 2014
With the downtown an economically stable commercial center, but, “totally dull,” the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership in Pittsburgh, PA, created a new grant program in 2007 to encourage restaurateurs to bring new vitality to city streets by moving their restaurants outdoors. The program offers a 50-percent matching grant of up to $30,000 ($60,000 for corner properties).…Continue reading


Saving Historic Theaters is an Economic Development Mission

December 12, 2014
A downtown theater provides not only entertainment, but a venue for other events that attract people downtown, and cross-promotional opportunities with nearby synergetic businesses such as restaurants, bars, book stores, and arts-based retail. The Great Recession of 2008 left many small downtown theaters struggling financially. On the heels of that, theater owners must now finance…Continue reading


12 Strategies that Will Transform Your Downtown

December 4, 2014
In the December issue of Downtown Idea Exchange, guest columnist John Karras shares 12 strategies that can transform virtually any downtown into a more vibrant place. The list includes structural changes, like street reconfiguration (Turn one-way streets into two-way streets), short-term steps (Establish a regularly occurring public event), and management approaches (Consolidate regional economic development…Continue reading


Finessing the Shop Local message

November 20, 2014
The pre-holiday “Shop Local” message is being refined in numerous ways in an effort to reach more potential customers for downtown’s businesses. Nearly every community endeavors to educate consumers about the economic benefits of shopping locally — some take a logical, numbers-based approach while others tug at the heart strings. Most tie into the national…Continue reading


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