chapter  13
26 Pages

An Evaluation of Approaches to Downtown Economic Revitalization Norman Walzer and Steven Kline

The past two decades have brought major shifts in retail patterns in most U.S. cities and made downtown revitalization an on-going challenge for local governments and other civic leaders. Since the end of World War II, main street has been described as the unrivaled center of retail trade and the cultural heart of small-town communities (Moe and Wilkie 1997, 142). However, as society has become increasingly mobile, small to medium size cities, in or near metropolitan areas, have also had to compete with regional shopping centers, in some instances, the same locations with which the central cities must compete. Many places, where people were once plentiful on main street (because many lived within walking distance of everything in town), experienced a relatively swift breakdown of the local economy in recent years.