Downtown & Neighborhood Centers
The downtowns of America's great cities suffered terribly after World War II, when federal highway building and suburban home mortgage programs fueled the exodus of much of the nation's largely urban population to new, suburban neighborhoods.
The Smart Growth and livable communities movements have sought to reform these problematic postwar development patterns by advocating for the use of strategies like infill development, mixed land uses, pedestrian- and transit-oriented design, and central community focus.
Efforts to revitalize the core areas of older towns and cities and to create vibrant centers in newer communities have grown significantly in the last decade. So have efforts aimed at creating walkable, neighborhood commercial centers in existing suburban enclaves; these become a locus for neighborhood services such as schools, stores, restaurants and transit hubs.
The following LGC publications address some of the key issues related to creating vibrant downtown and neighborhood centers: