Main Street in 3D

Meet the five communities

Download Main Street Now PDF 2010/07_08

In the January-February 2010 issue of Main Street Now, we announced our joint project with Google and Igloo Studios, “Main Streets in 3D,” which will explore the use of 3D models in revitalization work. Five communities were selected through a competitive process to receive on-site Google SketchUp™ and Google Earth™ training by Igloo Studios. They will have a year to model their downtowns and experiment with the tool in their Main Street work.

Each community brings a different innovation and partnership group to this experiment, and all are eager to unlock the potential of this amazing visualization tool. The profiles at right highlight each Main Street program and its plans for becoming a Main Street in 3D. Check our website to track their progress and look for an educational session that features their successes at our 2011 National Main Streets Conference.

Jefferson, Georgia

Located in the 22nd fastest growing county in the United States, Jefferson has resolved to ultimately bring this technology to the entire county to promote smart growth.  Locally, however, having a 3D Main Street will allow Main Street Jefferson to develop online business recruitment tools as well as reach out to tourists by providing them with interactive virtual points of interest. Almost $100,000 in grant money has enabled the community to embark on a downtown streetscaping project. Using 3D models, the town can virtually plant new trees using a configuration that won’t block business signs but will provide plenty of shade for pedestrians. Storm water runoff will also be improved. Various partners are also excited about the possibilities Google SketchUp brings. From Georgia Power envisioning the downtown with utilities buried underground to the police department making better plans for security, there is a lot of potential ready to be tapped.

Downtown Milford, Delaware

Working with history buffs and area youth, the team plans to model the downtown not just as it appears today, but also as it once looked and the way it could look in the future through a student competition that will envision what Milford might be like in 10 years. Downtown Milford, Inc., is keen on updating the view from Google Earth, currently stuck in time at 2007, to show how downtown has changed and bounced back after a devastating fire. The Main Street program also plans to use the technology to assist business and building owners with façade improvements and, finally, to promote and market the community – especially through animated videos using the 3D model.

Oregon City, Oregon

Oregon City, at the end of the Oregon Trail, has a lot of history. Main Street Oregon City plans to use a 3D rendering of its downtown to explore the potential of its historic buildings, public spaces, and downtown environment. The Main Street program intends to turn the city’s 2D downtown redevelopment plan into a 3D plan that envisions an improved pedestrian environment, enhanced sidewalks and streetscapes (in time for its planned $3 million project), and sensitive design changes to historic buildings. Last year, the city saw 14 new businesses open and $1.3 million in building improvements. The 3D downtown will be used to attract additional businesses and investment by helping prospective investors visualize the potential of empty lots and dilapidated buildings. Main Street Oregon City’s partnership with Funnel Box Motion Pictures Studio will incorporate the 3D model into a creative video that will document some of the most creative adaptive reuses of historic buildings in Oregon City and serve as an innovative marketing and investment tool.

Downtown South, Orlando, Florida

Downtown South has been facing challenges from sprawl and a long-standing focus on automobiles rather than pedestrians. The community just completed a vision plan and wishes to model the business district to boost public support and show residents what Main Street can be in the future. Realizing that there are problematic blocks in the district, the Main Street program will use Google SketchUp to virtually redevelop entire areas and envision ways to make the district more pedestrian friendly. Specifically, the group plans to identify the best available public space for a new community market and a new fall festival. What’s more, the organization has recruited volunteers from neighboring Main Street districts and intend to share their training and knowledge with their peers in Orlando.

Fairmont, West Virginia

After attending a SketchUp training at the 2010 National Main Streets Conference, the Main Street Fairmont team was inspired to read SketchUp for Dummies and make their first attempt at 3D modeling. Thoroughly hooked, they are ready to use the technology in community design charrettes and allow architects who are committee volunteers to quickly make design enhancements that will inspire building owners to dramatically improve the appearance of Main Street and help stop the tear-down trend. Two important local landmarks, the YMCA and the Masonic Temple, are in need of saving, and the organization is ready to model the structures, inside and out, to attract potential developers.

Become a Main Street in 3D, too!

We are pleased to announce that discounted subscriptions to Igloo Studios’ online training resource, School, are available to all Main Street Network members! Save 25 percent on online instruction and learn how to make your Main Street 3D. Igloos Studios is a digital media firm that creates immersive 3D and video media solutions and offers School as its educational studio that trains Google SketchUp users through online video podcasts, DVDs, and live training. Visit to learn more and sign up today!