Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Elevation DC | Step by step to better streets and better shopping

Heather Arnold from Streetsense and Kim Driggins from DC
Office of Planning have plenty of Southeast Love!
This an article I was interviewed for to discuss a Vibrant Streets Toolkit workshop series I had the pleasure of attending for both Anacostia and Congress Heights. The information was extremely informative and applied metrics, case studies, and cold hard facts to what makes a vibrant and diverse retail district.

It is one thing to say you want a vibrant retail corridor, it is another thing entirely to know how to go about achieving it. My honest opinion? Although well intentioned, most community members, small businesses and even some most local community development organizations don't have a good grasp of what it takes to turn our business corridors from "drab" to "fab."

In order to attract and retain a better class of retail to our business districts it is imperative that we take an honest look at how we appear to them. Otherwise, we are destined for more of the same and according to most of my readers, they aren't that happy with the status quo.

P.S. Do me a solid and just ignore the less than flattering photos of yours truly. Even The Advoc8te is entitled to an off day. :)

Go HERE to read the full Elevation DC article.

Excerpt

The District has only a third of the retail per capita that you can find in the suburbs, Tregoning says. It's a statistic that just doesn't make sense in a city like Washington. "I almost feel like the sky's the limit for us because we are so grossly underretailed," Tregoning says.  
The District contracted Streetsense, a Bethesda-based for-profit company that specializes in creating mixed-use communities. The Office of Planning asked Streetsense to figure out what D.C. streets needed to attract visitors -- and the retailers who were interested in them.  
To achieve that goal, Streetsense looked at streets -- large and small -- that have successfully attracted a desirable mix of retail stores. "We came up with this methodology to basically study great streets around the world that we thought were aspirational streets," says Heather Arnold, director for research and analysis at Streetsense.


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