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Each month downtown leaders turn to Downtown Idea Exchange for practical news reports, how-to information, and hundreds of real-world examples of how downtowns are growing and prospering.

We often have valuable background material, additional information, or related resources that we just can’t fit in the newsletter. The links below will take you to the full documents, articles, videos, websites, marketing materials, and more.


March 2013

The smart math of mixed-use development — This months Perspectives column was based on the work of Joseph Minicozzi, which originally appeared at the Planetizen website. You may read the original article The smart math of mixed-use development now. ...

Affordable housing crowdfunding pilot program — Our March article New online platforms support downtown projects includes information on a crowdfunding pilot program in Ottawa, ON, Canada. Click here to read the white paper Crowdfunding Affordable Housing. ...

Work space, programs, and events support start-ups — This month, we reported on the Alliance for Downtown New York’s business incubator, Hive at 55. You may also find our recent article Cowork incubators foster start-ups and fill vacant spaces useful. ...

New fund for arts businesses — The City of San Jose, CA, has established a Creative Industries Incentive Fund that provides financial support to commercial businesses rooted in the arts. View the program application and guidelines. ...

Tapping into the office-worker market — Despite the barrage of information on shoppers moving their spending online, a recent research report by the International Council on Shopping Centers shows a healthy amount of spending by office workers as well as opportunities for retailers, restaurants, and service businesses. Read the report Office Worker Retail Spending in a Digital Age....

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February 2013

Five keys to downtown success — The report The Value of Investing in Canadian Downtowns contains five keys to success, which downtowns can use to measure their progress and shape their futures. We provide a summary in this issue of Downtown Idea Exchange. Here is the full report. ...

Healthy living, healthy businesses, healthy budget — This article covers an ambitious project in Ottumwa, IA, which includes an incubator for local food-related businesses. For more articles on how the locally-grown movement is benefiting downtowns, click below. Local foods and culinary offerings basis of downtown tourism niche Bringing ‘locally grown’ downtown ...

A new plan for sustainable BID funding — The goal of many BIDs is to ensure a stable, long-term funding source, but if you don’t have a fair and equitable assessment plan or a good mechanism for collection, that can pose real problems. See the Downtown Boise Association Business Improvement District Assessment Billing Proposal. ...

Small cities continue to rise in popularity — U.S. Census data shows that cities in small metro areas are gaining population. Read the full report City Versus Suburban Growth in Small Metro Areas. ...

Investment in the arts means business — The nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts recently released its study Arts & Economic Prosperity IV. We provide encouraging data regarding the return on arts investment nationally, and on a local scale, in Downtown Promotion Reporter. You may read the report summary here. ...

Smart retailers reach out to smartphone shoppers — Increasingly, downtown retailers are learning how to engage smartphone owners and lure them away from Internet and big box shopping. Read the report The dawn of mobile influence: Discovering the value of mobile in retail. ...

Highlighting downtown’s heritage draws visitors — This article covers several ways that communities highlight downtown heritage, add visual interest, educate people about a community’s history, and draw visitors downtown. See the Chillicothe Missouri Mural Map See the Excelsior Springs walking tour map ...

Reducing fuel consumption at festivals and events — With rising fuel costs and an increasing awareness of sustainability, many large festivals are looking for ways to cut fuel consumption. Download The Power Behind Festivals: A guide to sustainable power at outdoor events....

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January 2013

Grant program encourages targeted retail development — One successful way to encourage specific businesses to open exactly where they are needed downtown is to tie financial assistance to those locations. The following materials support the Louisville, KY, program detailed in this article. Louisville South Fourth Street Retail Merchandising Plan Louisville Retail Grant Program application ...

Streets that work better for people, bikes, transit — The National Association of City Transportation Officials has released the Urban Street Design Guide. From bus rapid transit to bikeways and public seating, the guide showcases a new model for streets that work better for people, bikes, transit, and cities. Read it here. ...

Pop-ups becoming part of the annual holiday scene — When holiday pop-up programs first gained popularity, it was to add some vitality to vacant storefronts during the dark days of the Great Recession. However, the programs have proved valuable, not only in dressing up empty storefronts, but in boosting sales, drawing foot traffic downtown, generating media attention for the city center, and incubating new permanent businesses. For background on pop-up programs read “Pop-up shops make downtown more festive,” from the December 2011 issue of Downtown Promotion Reporter....

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