The disconnect between downtown revitalization plans and project implementation

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Coler, Megan M.
Kelly, Eric D.
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Thesis (M.U.R.P.)
Department of Urban Planning
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This creative project examines the disconnect between downtown revitalization plans and project implementation. The project examines implementation strategies of redevelopment plans, the overall success of planning documents and the leadership that drives implementation of projects in three case study communities. Downtowns are important components to any community; therefore the creative project outlines the importance of revitalization in the twenty-first century. Several planning literature pieces examine the trends communities have followed that have led to the abandonment of their downtown core and further the strategies communities have used to redevelop downtowns. To determine if a disconnect exists between the success of a community’s downtown redevelopment plan and the implementation of revitalization projects, three communities with downtown redevelopment plans have been examined. An evaluation of on each community’s downtown redevelopment plan and project implementation was completed. The success of downtown plans in driving revitalization efforts were determined by using the criteria created by Lewis D. Hopkins (2003) addressed in the chapter titled “How Plans Work” in Time Saver Standards for Urban Design. The criteria outlined by Hopkins determined if the overall planning document was successful in creating outcomes and ultimately if the revitalization strategies helped initiate downtown revitalization. Through the evaluation of each community’s revitalization efforts, three important lessons were determined; the success of downtowns is really an indefinable measure since there are so many unquantifiable elements; it is up to the community, and ultimately community leaders to carry out the action steps in the plan; and it is the role of the planner to educate the community of the importance of implementation of planning documents.