Kennedy Lawson Smith is one of the nation's foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and development, independent main street businesses, and economically and environmentally sound community development.
After graduate school in architecture, Kennedy directed the downtown revitalization program in Charlottesville, Virginia, where her small business development work led her to create a retail market analysis methodology specifically for older commercial districts that is now used in downtown revitalization programs throughout the US. She joined the staff of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center in 1985, and in 1991 she became its director, a position she held for 13 years. During her tenure, the Main Street program was widely recognized as one of the most successful economic development programs in the US, expanding to a nationwide network of almost 2,000 towns and cities.
In 2004 Kennedy co-founded the Community Land Use and Economics (CLUE) Group, LLC, a private consulting firm that blends downtown development, land use management, and historic preservation disciplines into a cohesive approach to solving community development challenges.