Making Business Districts Work


6″ x 8″, softcover,
435 pages, Routledge.

SKU: CM0001 Category:


Making Business Districts Work is the essential reference for downtown professionals and board members.

It is unique in that it covers nearly all aspects of leading and managing downtown and community development organizations, from planning and implementing programs and policies, to evaluating successes and failures.

It presents step-by-step instructions for performing a host of essential tasks, but more importantly, it shows how America’s most experienced and successful downtown executives handle these responsibilities.

To ensure the latest and best information, editors David Feehan and Marvin Feit turned to a team of 37 experts including downtown CEOs, consultants, and academics. The book presents their knowledge, wisdom, and experience in a practical and very readable volume, which should be on every downtown professional’s desk.


Table of Contents

Part I. The Field of Downtown and Business District Management

  1. The State of Business District Revitalization (Brad Segal)
  2. Leading the Downtown (Richard Bradley)
    • A Long History of Leadership
    • Continuous Demands for Leadership
    • Leadership as a Collective and Cooperative Undertaking
    • Leadership as Initiating and Managing Change
  3. The New Role of Downtown Leaders (Richard T. Reinhard)
    • Comparing Past and Present
    • Some Specific Causes of Change
    • Reality of Today
    • Spectrum of Changes
  4. The Vision-Driven Downtown Organization (David Feehan)
    • Creating a Shared Vision
    • The Vision Statement
    • Past Experience, Future Vision

Part II. Organizing the Downtown Corporation

  1. Complex Organizational Structures (James A. Cloar)
    • Background
    • Simple Structures
    • Evolving Responses
    • Expanded Missions
    • Complex Structure Models
    • Case Study: Downtown St. Louis
    • Points to Consider
  2. Boards and Committees — Governance (Kate Joncas)
    • Conflicts of Interest
    • Achieving Consensus
    • Successful Relationships with Organizations
    • Too Many Issues, Too Little Time
    • The New Reality: Local Business Leadership Is No Longer Local
  3. Making the Most of Human Resources (Catherine Coleman)
    • Who’s the Boss?
    • Good Management Begins with Good Employees
    • Motivating Employees and Building the Team
    • Know the Law and Follow the Rules
    • A Bad Apple Can Spoil the Bunch
    • No Need to Reinvent the Wheel
  4. Financial Management — Keeping the Numbers Straight (Michael Weiss)
    • Getting Started
    • Assessments and Revenue
    • Preparing a Budget
    • Revenue
    • Cash Flow
    • Expenses
    • Financial Records and Reports
    • Expense Monitoring
    • Internal Controls
    • Audits
    • Reporting to Your Board and Others
    • Staffing and Skills Required
  5. Staffing Structure and Compensation Management (Dong Soo Kim, David Feehan, and Sarah Rose)
    • About the Survey
    • CEO Characteristics
    • Downtown Organizations
    • Compensation
    • Staffing
    • Funding
  6. Resource Raising as a Downtown Management and Revitalization Strategy (Tom Verploegen)
    • Quality, Quality, Quality
    • Defining Resource Raising
    • Three Resource-Raising Categories
    • Resource Raising General Examples
    • Resource Raising Specific Examples
    • The 5 Ws and H
    • How to Close the Deal

Part III. Operating in a Complex Environment

  1. Strategic Planning — Charting the Course (Sandra Goldstein)
    • What Is Strategic Planning?
    • What Are the Benefits of Strategic Planning?
    • What Are the Steps in the Strategic Planning Process?
    • How Is a Work Plan Created Through the Strategic Planning Process?
    • Where Do You Start?
    • What Is the SWOT Analysis?
    • Outcomes
    • How Is the Work Plan Reinforced?
  2. Diversity: Incorporating and Benefiting from Differences (Barbara Askins)
    • What Does Diversity Mean for Downtown Organizations?
    • Benefits of Inclusion
    • Tools and Strategies
    • Goals and Objectives
    • Actions of the Board of Directors
    • Moving into the Future
  3. Attracting and Keeping Members (Polly McMullen)
    • Background and History
    • Downtowns Today: Membership Organizations and BIDs
    • Downtown Membership Programs and Services
    • Attracting and Retaining Members: Best Practices from Cities Large and Small
    • Trends in Downtown Membership Programs
  4. The Advocacy Role of a Downtown Organization (Richard T. Reinhard)
    • Organizational Structure
    • Consensus
    • The Downtown Plan

Part IV. Marketing and Communicating

  1. Creating the Downtown Experience: The New Fundamentals for Downtown Programming (Stephen J. Moore)
    • Making Shopping Fun Again
    • New Fundamentals
    • Seven Areas of Programming
    • Conclusion
  2. Marketing the Shopping Experience (Maureen Atkinson)
    • Downtown’s Shopping Image
    • The Retail Marketing Planning Process
  3. Electronic Marketing (Andrew M. Taft)
    • Active Electronic Marketing
    • Passive Electronic Marketing
    • Updating
    • Maximizing the Potential of Your Site
    • Feedback — Sustaining the Information Search
    • Guerilla Marketing

Part V. Managing Downtown’s Many Elements

  1. Clean and Safe — Basic Requirements (Rob DeGraff)
    • Clean Programs
    • Safe Programs
    • Special Programs Enhancing Safe Programs
    • Ordinances
    • Accountability
  2. The Public Realm and Urban Design (Jill M. Frick)
    • The Importance of Good Urban Design
    • Guidelines and Principles of Urban Design
    • Design and Planning Process: Internal versus External Strategic Planning
    • How Downtowns Use Design to Create a Sense of Place
  3. Managing Hospitality (James E. Peters)
    • Perspective
    • Trends
    • 2020 Vision
    • Hospitality, Safety, and Development
    • Learning by Example
    • Recommendations
  4. Transportation Management and Downtown Revitalization (Elizabeth Jackson)
    • Downtown as a Historic Transportation Hub
    • Transportation and Downtowns of the Future
    • Urban Transportation Basics
    • Managing Transportation — Role of the Downtown Organization
    • The Bottom Line: Creating Transportation Choice
  5. Parking: Finding Solutions (E. Larry Fonts)
    • Proven Options
    • Improve the Appearance
    • Improve Public Safety
    • Proactive Strategies
    • Pegasus Parking
    • Business Issues
    • Expansion Opportunities
  6. “Best in Class” Parking Options (Dennis Burns)
    • Parking 101: Choose Any Two
    • Characteristics of Effective Parking Programs
    • Case Examples: Exceptional Parking Programs
  7. Managing Downtown’s Social Behavior (Elizabeth Jackson)
    • Furthering the Social Environment of Downtown
    • Understanding the Problem
    • Tools of Response
    • Communications
    • Picking Your Partners
    • Building Partnerships
    • Measuring Success
    • Useful Resources
  8. Getting the Right Consultant for the Right Job (Richard Marshall)
    • Setting Goals for the Project
    • Issuing the Request for Proposal
    • Reviewing the Submissions and Interviewing the Consultants
    • Making the Decision
    • Doing the Work

Part VI. Discovering Downtown’s Development Secrets

  1. Economic Development for BIDs (Gary Ferguson)
    • A Definition of Economic Development
    • Downtowns and Economic Development Policy
    • Points of Divergence and Convergence
    • The Role of BIDs in Economic Development
    • Economic Development Intervention
    • The BID as Data Manager
    • The BID as Business Facilitator
    • Managing Prospects
    • Start-Up and Expansion Businesses
    • Business Retention Strategies
    • Making Projects Happen
    • Intervention Options: Concluding Remarks
  2. Residential Development: Creating a Living Downtown (Dan Carmody)
    • Historical Trends
    • Housing’s Link to Economic Development
    • Residential Development Prerequisites
    • Housing Market by Sector
    • Affordable Housing
    • Urban Housing Is Different
  3. Retail Revitalization and Recruitment (Maureen Atkinson and John Archer)
    • Understanding Retailing
    • Creative Planning
    • The Process
    • Revitalization and Recruitment Action-Plan Schedule
    • Step 1: Get the Facts
    • Step 2: Retail Recruitment Strategy
  4. A Guide to Developing a Retail Base (H. Blount Hunter)
    • Step 1: Create an “Inventory” of Downtown Attributes
    • Step 2: Define the Nature of Downtown’s Retail Challenge
    • Step 3: Evaluate Prevailing Usage and Customer Perceptions of Downtown
    • Step 4: Document Downtown’s Trade-Area Drawing Power and Its Mercantile and Dining Successes
    • Step 5: Identify Downtown’s Most Sustainable Competitive Retail Niche
    • Step 6: Pinpoint the Retail “Bulls-eye” and Acknowledge the Need for a Critical Mass
    • Step 7: Target the Most Appropriate Retailers for Success
    • Step 8: Groom Downtown for Long-Term Retail Evolution
    • A Practical Model of Downtown Retail Evolution
  5. “One-of-a-Kind” Regional Attractions (Donald E. Hunter)
    • Cycles of Change
    • Revitalization in Downtown
  6. Managing the Politics of Downtown Redevelopment Projects (N. David Milder)
    • Redevelopment Projects Are Prone to Generating Conflicts
    • Some Do’s and Don’ts

Part VII. International Perspectives

  1. Canada as an Urban Country (Douglas B. Clark)
    • Economic Development, Tax Policy, and the New Economy
    • Canadian Cities Today
    • Housing
    • Homelessness
    • Transportation
  2. Case Studies from Around the World (Sarah Rose)
    • South Africa
    • Serbia
    • United Kingdom
    • Ireland
    • A Common Goal
  3. Commercial Urbanism in Portugal: Evolution and Future Perspectives (Carlos J. L. Balsas)
    • Evolution of Commercial Urbanism in Portugal
    • PROCOM and URBCOM Programs
    • Case Studies: Aveiro, Coimbra, and Porto

Part VIII. Case Studies

  1. The Kalamazoo Prism: Downtown Michigan Metamorphosis (John E. Hopkins and Kenneth A. Nacci)
    • Kalamazoo
    • Key Elements of Project Downtown
    • Stakeholders and Their Roles
    • Cutting-Edge Collaboration
    • Lessons Learned
    • The Challenges That Lie Ahead
  2. Incredible Crisis and Downtown Response: Alliance for Downtown New York (Carl Weisbrod and Jennifer Hensley)
  3. The Homeless Situation in Los Angles and the BID Response (Kent Smith)
    • The Role of Business Improvement Districts
    • The Class Action Lawsuit
    • The Personal Possession Check-In Facility
    • Outreach Teams
    • Addressing Disorderly Behavior
    • The Positive Effect of Residential Development
    • Steps to Address the Situation
    • An Optimistic Outlook

Part IX. Reevaluating the Past and Anticipating the Future

  1. Looking Backward, Looking Forward: The Future of Downtowns and Business Districts (Paul Levy)
    • Looking Backward
    • Looking at Today
    • Looking Forward


Charts, tables, photographs, and web resources make this vital text even more essential.

About the Editors

David Feehan is President and CEO of Civitas Consultants LLC. Before entering private practice, he served as President and CEO of the International Downtown Association and directed downtown programs in Des Moines, Detroit, and Kalamazoo.

Marvin D. Feit, PhD is Professor and Dean of the Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia.


Read the Introduction


Making Business Districts Work is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.


“This book will be used for years to come. It may well become the most opened text in the downtown manager’s library.”
— John R. Mullen,
Professor of Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“A must-read for anyone interested in grasping current issues, concerns, and nuances in downtown and business management.”
— Michael J. Holosko,
University of Georgia