A healthy downtown is both a symbol of community pride, history, and a civic and social center for positive interaction.
At Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS), we have developed a Downtown Revitalization Certificate Program, to empower those who seek to turn Downtown and Main Street challenges into economic development and public space design opportunities. This program is of particular value to architects, urban designers, and planners (both private-sector and public-sector/ municipalities), Main Street Managers, Business Improvement District Directors (B.I.D.’s) and their staffs, Chambers of Commerce and community planning groups, historic preservationists, graduate – level students, and many more. Participants gain introductory knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of government, business and non-profits to plan, design, and implement efforts for the Downtown Revitalization of their communities, and their Main Streets / Commercial Corridor Districts, etc., and to help meet the goals of federal, state and local programs such as the NYS Office of Community Renewal’s New York Main Street Program, NYC-Small Business Service’s Storefront Improvement Program, and many others, etc.
The Downtown Revitalization Certificate Program curriculum, is taught by recognized experts in the field, including Norman Mintz, Bob Elliott, Mike Berne, Robert Dadras and Victor Dadras, and others.
Current issues include: preserving the scale and character of our downtowns and Main Street communities, helping to encourage and maintain small, independent (“mom & pop”) businesses, revitalization and restoration of downtowns, improving the aesthetics of facades, signage, awnings, etc., improve streetscape and traffic (*safety)/street intersection-crossing improvements; pedestrian & bicycle improvements, civic plazas and place-making, and historic preservation, etc.
The two-part “Downtown/Main Street strategy” course requires participants to apply and implement what they learn from all eight courses in this program– in a final project focused on the downtown/Main Street district of their own choosing.
Completing the Downtown Revitalization Certificate Program prepares the professional for a stronger career path with the increasingly in-demand downtown and Main Street revitalization skillset. For those who would like to receive an introduction to the topic of downtown revitalization, there is also an AIA approved one-day course offered.
Authors: Victor Dadras and Robert Dadras