No village character will be left downtown, and no real signs of life except that which are kept alive with transfusions of fresh, urban renewal debt - tax increment funding that outs the financing burden on you and me.
Here's a town that has kept its charm and continues to draw locals and visitors alike. Every Thursday evening the Main Street in town is turned into a Farmers' Market with food and music. In order not to be left out, local restaurants and shops not on the street set up tents. It's the place to see and be seen. This town has managed the evolution of its downtown carefully in order to keep what it values most. This is San luis Obispo, California, pop. 46,362, home to California Polytechnic University. I hope to bring you more such examples in the future. Let me know of any I should be looking at. imslohappy.wordpress.com/tag/downtown-slo
We're SLO Happy!
A deeper look into the happiest city in America
October 11, 2011
October 11, 2011
Downtown SLO: Modern languages and literatures sophomore Emma Horowitz said downtown showcases perfectly what makes San Luis Obispo so special.
“It’s local, and it’s cute, but it’s still modern and fun,” she said. “It’s where the college community and the rest of the community comes together, which is really great.”
Emma said she loves that everything comes together downtown – the old and the new, the college kids and the families.
It offers a real taste of the town, in just a few blocks,” she said.
San luis Obispo Downtown Association
In this map of the downtown commercial area, you can see that there are no buildings that consume an entire city block, and that most blocks have multiple shops of varying sizes and ages, giving the street more interest and life.
Preserving a sense of the past has always been a critical strategy to downtown revival.
Retail is the key to recovery.
In a related strategy, downtown must also try to keep the downtown shopping central business disrict as authentic as possible. This type of “urban authenticity” is often reflected by the presence of individual, locally based merchants – many of whom sell products and services that are different, or at least delivered in a different manner, than ubiquitous chains found in prototypical suburban communities.
"Without retailing, the commercial role of the center or Main Street will have been repealed. A library, concert hall or art museum can lure visitors on special occasions, but only the marketplace can create a true permanent central place. Ultimately, a revived center city will have to combine both this community sense and a sense of uniqueness with a strong, market-driven commercial appeal.”
To help them survive in the next century, Kotkin offers the following “reality-based” guidelines for downtowns.
- Emphasize qualitative over quantitative values. Downtowns don't need to experience a rapid growth in population in order to be successful. Instead, slowing or even reducing population can provide the basis for creating a more livable town.
- Concentrate on appropriate niches.
- Nurture the Grassroots economy.
Cities should also strive toman gain a strong presence of specialized industrial, warehousing and other blue-collar industries in addition to focusing on post-industrial sectors such as the service industry. ...overall industrial workers remain half as likely to earn incomes below the poverty line than their service counterparts.