The Reality of Main Street

Ames, Iowa downtown (Source: Brookings)

It is true that main streets have been battered in recent decades. Big-box and internet retail paired with the globalization of production have exposed communities to unprecedented competition. Sprawling development and migration have emptied out many small downtowns. Yet far from a myth, some main streets are thriving. These communities leverage the density of older and historic buildings, educational institutions and community and cultural facilities in their town centers to attract investment and bring renewed vitality to once hollowed-out downtowns.

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