Main Street After COVID-19

There has been a fair amount of research on what can help downtowns weather this pandemic in the short term. Financial assistance and thoughtful balancing of public health and commerce are seen as leading ways to help in the short term. However, there hasn’t been much work done on what happens next. This project is designed to answer that question, with a focus on downtown districts in small cities in the northeast USA. This project used qualitative methods including stakeholder interviews and a business survey to determine what needs will exist in the next 5-10 years and what public actions may help address those needs.

Rebuilding Main Street After COVID-19: Recommendations for and reflections from small and mid-sized American cities

A summer 2020 report on six downtown areas for small to mid-sized cities, examining their responses to the initial lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and what opportunities the disruptions caused by the lockdowns offered for reimagining downtown uses, economic growth, sustainable mobility, and investment in small businesses. 

Full Report

Main Street After COVID: A Toolkit Guide for Improvements

This publication provides guidance for four potential improvement packages: small, medium, large,
and extra-large toolkits. With wide latitude to mix and match or modify, the toolkits help to initiate a conversation about what improvements or enhancements may be needed and how they might provide an opportunity to draw more people to downtown and expand businesses.

Full Guide

Building Housing Over Single-Story Retail in Downtown or Main Street: Code Challenges and Alternatives

This memo is intended for municipal planners and officials who may not know all the details of building code but have an interest in promoting housing built over or within commercial uses. We seek to distill essential considerations for constructing housing above retail in a straightforward, singular document. Small municipalities do not always have architectural support in their planning departments, and this can get in the way of due diligence for complicated code and constructability projects. This memo seeks to clarify the litany of challenges that such a decision would create. We would always recommend that local planners and officials also consult with code enforcement officers and fire code experts in looking at this complex issue.

Full Memo