Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Great smaller city/town Main Streets in the U.S. per Travel & Leisure Magazine

Photo of the intersection of Main Street and Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, from the American Planning Association.

Ironically, the "art-print" store visible in the right of the photo was there back when I was in college. I bought a print there for my dorm room wall within the first couple weeks of my first term.

See "America's Greatest Main Streets" from the May issue of Travel & Leisure.

Ann Arbor comes in at #10. When I was in college there in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Main Street and Downtown Ann Arbor were hurting. Downtown no longer functioned as a regional shopping destination for the more rural communities in Washtenaw County, and the local/small chain department stores were starting to fail, as they were in city after city across the country.

A few years before, a regional shopping mall, Briarwood, opened, which outshown and outpaced Downtown and its independent retailers.

Now Main Street Ann Arbor is back, but it is a fundamentally different "retail" experience, much more focused on food, specifically restaurants, and less on the purchase of goods that occurs in traditional retail settings.

More and more, commercial district revitalization is about food consumption, to the point where I think we need to reterm commercial districts something like eatertainment districts.

The April issue also has a list of "America's best cities for hipsters."

1. Seattle
2. Portland, OR
3. San Francisco
4. New Orleans
5. Portland, Maine
6. Providence
7. Austin
8. San Juan, Puerto Rico
9. Philly
10. Denver
11. Savannah
12. NYC
13. Santa Fe
14. Chicago
15. San Diego
16. Minneapolis/St. Paul
17. Boston
18. Los Angeles
19. Nashville
20. Kansas City, Missouri

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