I wanted to share the following principles from the the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, the non-profit, member-focused and service oriented organization for Pennsylvania’s downtowns, downtown revitalization has eight guiding principles that set it apart from other redevelopment strategies:
1. Comprehensive: Downtown revitalization is a complex process requiring a comprehensive strategy. No single project such as lavish public improvement, “name-brand” business recruitment, or endless promotional events can revitalize the downtown.
2. Incremental: Basic, simple activities lead to a more sophisticated understanding of the revitalization process and help members of the community develop skills to tackle more complex problems and ambitious projects.
3. Self-Help: Local leaders must have the will and desire to mobilize local resources. That means convincing residents and business owners alike of the rewards for their investment of time and money in the downtown as the heart of the community.
4. Partnership: Both the public and private sectors have a vital interest in the downtown. Partnership means that all stakeholders are contributing time, money, and expertise—often individually, but sometimes sitting as a group around the same table.
5. Assets: To give people a sense of belonging and pride, downtown revitalization must capitalize on the unique assets it already has – distinctive buildings, neighborly shop owners, and human scale that cannot be copied at a strip or shopping mall.
6. Quality: A high standard of quality must be set for every aspect of the downtown district, from window displays to marketing brochures, and from public improvements to storefront renovations.
7. Change: Changes in attitude and practice are slow but definite and essential. The “Main Street” approach often brings about a major shift in downtown’s use, purpose and future.
8. Action-Oriented: The downtown focus is to simultaneously plan for the future while creatingvisible change and activities now.