Do you wish to revitalize your downtown?
Downtown Revitalization (DR) program provides training and support
to implement comprehensive revitalization initiatives.
What is Downtown Revitalization?
When it comes to revitalizing a downtown, people often think of
structural and tangible improvements. However, frequently there
is more to the picture than the appearance of the downtown. Each
downtown has its own unique architecture, cultural traditions, heritage,
human talents and other assets to build on. A successful DR project
focuses not only on a community's buildings and structures but on
many factors including: the demography of the area, overall attractiveness
to investors, and the impression a community gives visitors. The
"four point approach" to DR includes:
- Economic Development - Assists merchants in
targeting new customer/market segments and identifies new businesses
opportunities that could complement the downtown mix.
- Leadership and Management - Engages all downtown
stakeholders in the enhancement and improvement of all aspects
of the downtown's operation by ensuring the coordination of efforts
and that the implementation of the strategy developed is managed
to maximize the downtown's revitalization opportunities.
- Marketing and Promotion - Ensures the identity
and positive image of the downtown is communicated and that activities
enhance the downtown.
- Physical Improvements - Restores facades, streetscaping,
parking, safe and walkable communities.
The DR initiative is aimed at communities that:
- Have at least 50 commercial enterprises or 70 structures or
storefronts in the downtown.
- Have a population of under 100,000.
- Have the capacity to undertake a long-term project.
- Have completed one or more related programs or resources such
as First Impressions Community Exchange and/or Business Retention
Why is it important?
Merchants, property owners, residents, community organizations
and local government all benefit from a healthy, vibrant downtown.
DR is a process of improving the economic, management, physical
and social well-being of a community's traditional town centre by:
- Strengthening local businesses, and encouraging investment by
building and property owners.
- Creating enjoyable public streets and spaces animated by a variety
of creative and civic activities.
- Providing work and living opportunities for residents.
What is the Downtown Revitalization Process?
The DR initiative follows a "4 stage process":
- Organizing and Scoping - This stage involves:
engaging stakeholders (citizens, business owners, heritage groups,
etc); forming a Management Committee, hiring and training a Coordinator,
holding a public "Launch" of the project, collecting
existing studies, reports, etc., preparing a preliminary Work
Plan, and undertaking a "visioning" exercise.
- Collecting and Assessing - This stage involves
the completion of up to five market analysis tools which include:
the Building and Business Inventory, the Business Mix Analysis,
the Business Owner Survey, the Customer Origin Survey, and the
Resident Survey. This stage may involve the community retaining
the services of a Landscape Architect or other design professional
to engage the community in the development of streetscape and
façade design plans and perspective drawings that help
provide the community with direction for the physical revitalization
- Planning and Prioritizing - The results from
all of the surveys and analytical tools undertaken are considered
and analyzed, a "Market Position Statement" is created
for the downtown to guide the community in obtaining its vision
"Goals" and "Activities" are identified and
prioritized, "Action Plans" are developed and the "DR
Strategy" is prepared, which will provide direction for the
project for the next two years and beyond.
- Implementing and Monitoring Success - "Work
Plans" are prepared to guide the implementation of the "Strategic
Plan" and "Action Plans". Benchmarks are identified,
and measures and success indicators are established, to monitor
the success of the various initiatives in terms of the "Goals"
originally established for the revitalization of the downtown.
Economic Development Branch Advisors are available to provide
guidance and advice throughout the process.
- An in-depth step-by-step Coordinators
Manual is provided, which includes electronic resources and
- Training and information sessions for Project Coordinators and
community members to learn how to effectively coordinate and implement
How do I get it?
Regional Economic Development Branch Advisors are available to
provide additional information on the DR program. Contact an Advisor
or call the Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300