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(Webinar) The Central Social District – the Key to Tomorrow’s Successful Downtowns
March 4, 2016 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
For decades, the terms Central Business District, CBD and downtown were used almost interchangeably because, functionally, downtowns were dominated by retail stores, office based businesses, professionals and government agencies, along with some hotels and maybe entertainment venues. Today, in downtowns large and small, the CBD functions are being rivaled or even surpassed by their Central Social District (CSD) functions. That includes housing, restaurants and watering holes, and vibrant entertainment niches that include not only venues for formal entertainments such cinemas, theaters, museums and concert halls, but also lively parks, plazas, and other gathering areas. Your downtown’s competitive advantage is therefore changing in important ways. Looking beyond the draw of speciality retail and entertainment, innovative downtown leaders and community planners are seizing on the opportunity to re-brand and fully embrace the downtown as the “heart of the community” where people come to gather, celebrate, meet friends, and make new ones. Art venues, libraries, and a myriad of informal entertainment venues are seen as increasingly important components of downtown revitalization because they improve quality of life and create more vibrant experiences for downtown visitors. But how do they fit into the overall fabric of a downtown, both economically and physically? What other downtown assets can be leveraged and tied into these types of interventions? This webinar will explain how the concept of the central social distric (CSD)t can be used as a planning tool to integrate new approaches into downtown in a smart, strategic way. Presenters will discuss downtown business niches and how they can be grown using the CSD concept. Case studies from two communities will illustrate how the CSD concept supports (and in fact drives) downtown economic development. Participants will also learn about innovative ways to help fund this next wave of downtown investment.