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Guiding Design on Main Street

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A practical alternative is Creating Vibrant Public Spaces.

Good public space and street design can dramatically improve a downtown’s walkability, and enhance social and commercial activity.

In this very readable book, author Ned Crankshaw combines practical experience, compelling case studies, and design guidelines to help every downtown improve the quality of its public spaces while respecting their historic character.

Learn more.


Enhancing the physical appearance of the downtown area is critical for revitalization success. Guiding Design on Main Street provides the background and tools for improving the visual appeal of the central business district.

The book begins with an overview of prominent architectural styles and design considerations and then moves to the steps cities and downtown organizations can take to make improvements. These include: developing design guidelines, educating the community about the benefits of good design, developing zoning regulations, and creating financial incentives to spur change.

Table of Contents (partial)

  1. Understanding Building Design
    • Context for design — Location, town plan, natural features, age, and diversity of buildings
    • Elements of storefront design — How building design affects the streetscape, common design problems
    • American building design — Architectural styles from the 1600s to today
    • Compatible design — Alterations, additions, infill, access for the disabled, public spaces
  2. Managing Building Design
    • Creating a design management program — The role of the design committee
    • Educating the community about good design — Researching the history of commercial buildings, developing financial incentives, developing design assistance programs, promoting good design
    • Design regulation and review — Zoning codes, building codes, other codes, establishing a design review program
    • Design financing and incentives — Loan pools, grant programs, tax incentives
    • Creating design guidelines — Methods, content and adoption
    • National, state, and local historic districts — Considering the options

Your Guarantee of Satisfaction

Guiding Design on Main Street is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.

About the Authors

Guiding Design on Main Street was written by a team of experts from the National Main Street Center in Washington, D.C.


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