Learning from the Experts: Conversations about Downtown & Community Economic Development (YouTube)

Reading and Discussion Topics for Small Cities


YouTube replay from 4/29/21

How did an isolated college town in the hills of Central New York assemble the economic development tools, talent and relationships to shape its downtown as a treasured part of the community? What can economic development leaders from Appleton, Eau Claire, and La Crosse share about the outlook for their downtowns during and after the pandemic. What can these cities learn from each other and the ideas shared by the participants? We also set aside Q&A and discussion time with the speakers and other participants to share insights on the pandemic and ideas for resetting their downtown strategies.


Part 1: Shaping a City, Ithaca, NY: A Developer’s Perspective
Author Mack Travis and Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Gary Ferguson, share their story of downtown transformation. In the past 25 years, $750 million has been invested, 25 major projects were developed, and three 10-Year Strategic Plans were conducted to guide this growth. Successful responses to the COVID-19 crisis will be discussed. To prepare for this discussion, we recommend reading selected parts of the book linked below prior to the program.

Part 2: Appleton, Eau Claire, and La Crosse WI
Using the book Shaping a City as background, Part II discusses three Wisconsin downtowns with active college communities. Downtown and community leaders from these cities share some of their unique responses to COVID-19 and their downtown development outlooks.

Part 3: Q and A followed by Participant Idea Sharing
In the final part of the Zoom video program, participants are invited to ask questions and offer their comments and ideas from the communities in which they live or work. The shared expertise of the full group results in a collection of ideas that could help downtowns increase market capture, new construction, building reuses, and return-to-business operators in the communities.

Purchase the Book

For $20 plus shipping the author will send you a copy of Shaping a City. Reading selected chapters prior to the program will help you engage in a creative discussion of downtown’s future. For more information on the program or for purchasing the book, email william.ryan@wisc.edu.


Thursday October 15, 2020 video

The Community Economic Development Program of the University of Wisconsin Madison, Division of Extension offers a journal article discussion for planners, downtown revitalization professionals, and local Extension educators.

The video focuses on a journal article by David Milder on the topic of Remote work: An example of how to identify a downtown-related trend breeze that will probably outlast the the COVID-19 crisis.   The article explores the economic impacts of remote work on urban, suburban and rural communities.

About the Author

  • David Milder is Founder and President of DANTH, Inc., a nationally recognized authority on downtown revitalization. For over 45 years he has utilized his market research and management skills to assess the potentials of downtowns and recommend revitalization and recruitment strategies and programs. David also has managed several downtown special districts, and has authored three books and numerous articles. David can be reached at danthinc@yahoo.com


Three part discussion with the author:

Session 1: May 21, 2020 video

  • Planning and Consultants
  • Power of RFPs to attract developers
  • Formation of a BID for organizing your  community
  • Power of Feasibility studies—Housing, Retail, Office
  • Build a Strategic Plan with community input and quantitative goals.
  • Collaboration with large institutions and private developers

Session 2: May 28, 2020 video

  • Revised Downtown Strategic Plan for the next ten years
  • Importance of saving our architectural heritage
  • Not-For-Profits owning Real Estate as an income generator
  • Arts, Dining and Entertainment that drive Downtown Revitalization

Session 3: June 4, 2020 video

  • Importance of Workforce Housing—
  • Adaptive Reuse—Apartments and Incubator Space
  • Collaboration vs. Competition—Creating Density in downtown.
  • Tax incentives and new hotels
  • Zoning changes—Creating Density
  • Creating the environment for a New Bank Building
  • Drivers of Downtown Revitalization—Arts, Dining and Entertainment and a refreshed Ithaca  Commons pedestrian mall
How to order a copy: https://www.tadornapress.com/  and other booksellers


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