8 Steps to Creating Vibrant Retail Streets

Tasked with developing a plan for how D.C.'s underperforming neighborhoods could improve their attraction to shoppers and retailers, consultants Streetsense whittled down hundreds of factors into an 8-step guide to creating vibrant retail streets.

"The District has a problem: D.C. just doesn't have good shopping," writes Beth Marlowe. "So how can the streets and neighborhoods of D.C. get in the retail game? The Office of Planning decided to put together a step-by-step guide to making streets and neighborhoods appealing to retailers -- big and small, local and national."
"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," she continues. After conducting extensive research into the world's great streets, "[a] path began to emerge, and the Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit, an eight-step guide to thriving neighborhood retail, was released in April." 

"The steps include some obvious actions neighborhoods can take to appeal to retailers, such as making sure the area feels safe (Step 4), along with some that are less obvious.  For example, even before tackling the safety issues, the toolkit advises that a group of people or an organization takes an interest in managing the street (Step 1) and that the street have fewer than ten percent of storefronts used for office buildings or other things can break up the flow (Step 2). Further down the path, the more advanced steps advise streets to find a civil or cultural anchor (Step 6), be walkable (Step 7), and have a sense of unity (Step 8)."

Full Story: Step by step to better streets and better shopping


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