Downtown Revitalization

Through publications and public presentations, David Milder has had a long-time policy of sharing his research and program development findings with other professionals involved in downtown and neighborhood revitalization efforts. He believes it is part of his responsibility as a member of the downtown revitalization community because he has learned so much from other members. Many of these documents and Powerpoint presentations are presented below and can be downloaded at no cost. All of these documents were done by David as the owner and founder of  DANTH, Inc.

In recent years, David’s attention has had a strong focus on downtown Central Social Districts (CSDs). Arts and entertainment functions are strong CSD elements. Their impacts are too often misunderstood, especially in smaller communities, say those with population below 25,000. See:  The Impacts of Arts Events Venues on Smaller Downtowns.

Toward a General Strategy for Small Town Economic Development. Since 2010, I’ve been trying to figure out a viable approach to stimulating meaningful economic development in our smaller communities that: considers current realities, leverages likely local assets and does not threaten the scale and lifestyles that make these communities attractive to close to 70 million Americans. This is a major research paper — 32 pages long — that brings together my work on Central Social Districts, quality of life residential and business recruitment, contingent workers, and small business e-commerce capabilities.

Downtown Multichannel Retailing. This is a major research paper on the challenges multichannel retailing is posing for independent downtown merchants and what downtown organizations can do to help them transition into this new retail world. Today, about 45% of all retail sales involve the Internet and merchants not in on the search are unlikely to be in on the sale. Not all merchants will be impacted, but those that are either need to adapt or be left behind.
Niche Revitalization Strategies. This PowerPoint presentation is a comprehensive update to David Milder’s 1997 book, Niche Strategies for Downtown Revitalization, but it can be fully understood by those who have not read that book. Niche strategies are a basic component of David’s approach to downtown revitalization.
Downtown Business Recruitment Book.  Most downtown organizations of all sizes should be doing business recruitment and they can if their personnel know what to do. This book is designed to empower district managers, their staffs, and even board members to successfully engage in business recruitment while avoiding a number of common pitfalls.
Downtown Trends. Another important component of David’s approach to downtown revitalization is his knowledge about the key economic and social trends that are impacting upon the revitalization process. To this end, every five years he conducted an assessment of these trends. This link will take you to a page where you can download several of our working papers from our assessment for the 2008 to 2013 lustrum.  The research on multichannel retailing and the deliberate consumer presented elsewhere on this page are also products of our trends assessment. David now does the trends analysis on an ongoing basis and publishes his findings in his Downtown Curmudgeon blog.
The Deliberate Consumer.  This presentation is about one of the most defining characteristics of the new normal that downtowns are now facing, a consumer who is less impulsive and more deliberate in making expenditures, often because of fewer financial resources and greater feelings of financial insecurity.
The Superstore Quandary.  This is one of the few really well-researched articles on the impact of “superstores” on a downtown. David looked closely at what happened when a downtown shopping center in Rutland, VT was revamped and brought in a Walmart, Price Chopper and TJ Maxx.
Ethnic Downtowns. This slide presentation is the result of many projects that David did in such places as Jamaica, NY, The Bronx, West New York, NJ and Elizabeth, NJ. He was among the first to identify the strong consumer spending power that could be tapped by merchants in these districts and to detail the national and regional retail chains that like to do business in ethnic downtowns.
Perspectives Columns.  The Downtown Idea Exchange has published a number of Perspectives columns written by DANTH’s president David Milder. Several of them are presented here that cover such topics as retail raptors, time-pressured consumers, hair and nail salons, the politics of downtown development, etc.
Crime and Revitalization. In the early 1980s, David, working with Regional Plan Association and the Citizens Crime Commission of NYC, developed a program to address the adverse impacts the fear of crime was having on downtown revitalization. The project was funded by the National Institute of Justice and many major corporations such as Mobil, Time, Chase, etc. Urban Land published an article about the project’s major findings which can be downloaded by using the above link.
Facades.  While managing the Town Center SID in Bayonne, NJ, David helped develop the innovative Jump Start facade improvement program. Some information about it is available by clicking on the link. David also has collected many photos of retail chain facades and formats that are downtown friendly.  These can be very useful when the chains, developers or landlords need to be “convinced” into creating a more downtown friendly store.