chapter  8
24 Pages

Towards a Typology of Urban Design Problems and Solutions for Downtown Revitalization: Some Evidence From the Mayor's Institute on City Design Siddhartha Sen and Matthew J. Bell

Planning literature on small and rural towns is dominated by discussions of economic revitalization (Glasmeier 1991; Glasmeier and Howland 1995; Hibbard and Davis 1986; Malizia 1986). Usually, very little attention is given to the role of design in urban revitalization. As Daniels et. al. (1995) point out, visual quality of small towns can be an economic resource and a draw for visitors and new businesses. To cite another example, Arendt et. al. (1994) recognize the importance of aesthetics, form, and design in maintaining small town character. In practice, the Main Street approach, sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, emphasizes the role of design in downtown revitalization of small towns (Robertson 1995). A careful analysis of the general literature on downtown revitalization also suggests a relationship between urban design and downtown revitalization. Robertson (1995), for example, points out that pedestrianization, historic preservation, and waterfront development are among the major redevelopment strategies for downtown revitalization. Certainly, all these strategies require an element of urban design. Others (Gratz et. al. 1998; Barnett 1995; Halpern 1988; Paumier et. al. 1988) have also emphasized the importance of design in downtown revitalization.