The Movement - Main Street America
For more than 35 years, the National Main Street Center has been helping communities revitalize their downtowns and commercial districts. Collectively, the movement is the leading voice for preservation-based economic development and community revitalization across the country. Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, Main Street America™ represents the broad diversity that makes this country so unique. Working together, the programs that make up the Main Street America network help to breathe new life into the places people call home.
The Main Street movement grew out of a recognition that a community is only as strong as its core. In an era when many people had given up hope about the commercial and cultural viability of downtown, and when suburbs, shopping malls, and big box retailers were dominating the American landscape, this seemed like an unlikely proposition. But, the practical framework outlined by the Main Street Approach, as well as the passion of the professionals and volunteers who make up the Main Street network, helped to pave the way for the renaissance of healthy, vibrant downtowns that we’re experiencing today.
The community development field has changed dramatically over the course of the past three and a half decades. In many ways, new trends in planning, development, and preservation build off principles that those in the Main Street network have long understood: that revitalization must be inclusive and representative of the community, that a place’s distinctive characteristics and older and historic buildings are its greatest assets, and that fostering a strong local-business environment creates enormous rewards.