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Reverse Zone, weblog on urban planning, sustainability, and technology.

Martin Laplante

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Mon, 18 Jun 2007

If You Come, They Will Build It

Mansfield, Texas, in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, is trying a new approach to downdown revitalization. Rather than putting money into bricks and mortar and hoping that a nicer looking main street will attract customers and businesses, they are puttting their money into events that draw people into the town centre and hoping that merchants and landowners will then see an economic benefit to sprucing up their storefronts.

This is pretty well how a shopping mall works. They provide the retail traffic, people walking in front of your store on their way to the anchor tenant. It is then the responsibility of the smaller tenant to tempt them to come in, and the storefront spares no expense.

This is not necessarily the best way to preserve historic buildings, but if the preservation rules are in place first, a nice looking pedestrian oriented frontage will draw more more customers than its dingy neighbours. As long as the dingy neighbours don't drive people away in the first place


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