N. David Milder, founder and president of DANTH, Inc. is a nationally recognized authority on downtown revitalization and a leading proponent of developing market niches. He has more than 35 years of experience utilizing market research and management skills to help revitalize business centers.
In the last few weeks I confronted an intellectual jolt that
made me ask some very basic questions about economic development, the field I
have been professionally active in for over 40 years. The causes of this jolt
were the discussions in the traditional media and on LinkedIn about Amazon’s
Long Island City 2HQ project and the opening of the huge $25 billion Hudson
Yards project on the West Side of Manhattan’s Midtown CBD. The merits of …
Across the nation over the past decade or so, the idea of
using the arts as an engine for downtown and Main Street economic growth has
attracted a growing number of adherents. One outcome of this advocacy is that arts
districts, a.k.a. creative districts, are appearing across the nation.
Colorado, for example has at least 26 of them, all formed under a state
statute. These districts either cover a designated part of a downtown district
or all of it.
Back in October of 2017, DANTH, Inc posted my white paper “Toward an Effective Economic Development Strategy for Smaller Communities (under 35,000)”(1). A central concept in that strategic approach was the STEEs (Small Town Entrepreneurial Environments). I then stated that: “Though I strongly suspect that such environments exist today somewhere in the USA, to date, I have not encountered one.” I then proceeded to outline what I then thought the major components of s viable and effective …
As my years spent in the downtown revitalization field increased, I gradually realized that I unconsciously had been working with the view that bigger and better defined a successful downtown. With time, I also realized –perhaps in an embarrassingly late fashion — that making a downtown better was much more important than making it bigger. Indeed, for many communities, a bigger downtown would essentially change the whole character of the town.
Looking at retail leakage studies, I am reminded of Coleridge’s famous line: “Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink”. Retail leakage studies seem to be de rigueur in the downtown economic development field, but a good one, devoid of fatal errors is hard to find. As I have detailed in earlier posts, leakage analyses have serious analytical and data issues. I want to return to one of these analytical problems because I think our field …