2020 Call For Session Proposals

2020 Call for Session Proposals


2020 Main Street Now Conference

For 40 years, the Main Street program has created economic impact and improved quality of life through the preservation of historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts throughout the country. At the 2020 Main Street Now Conference in Dallas, Texas, we celebrate this long tradition of excellence in community redevelopment and reinvestment, while focusing on strategic areas of growth for Main Street programs to continue to expand opportunity and strengthen our commercial districts for the next 40 years. Along with our partners at the Texas Main Street Program, we invite proposals for educational sessions in five thematic areas and also encourage perennial downtown and commercial district management topics guided by the Main Street Approach.

We  encourage you to keep these concepts in mind as you craft your proposal:
Innovation and Ingenuity | Changing Nature of Retail | Equitable Entrepreneurship
Sustainable Solutions | Preservation and Development
Learn more about each area below and submit your proposal today!

Submit Your Proposal

 All submissions must be received by August 19, 2019.

Innovation and Ingenuity

When the Main Street program began in 1980, a group of visionaries and passionate community advocates set in motion a major innovation in community revitalization. While the program has grown to serve thousands of communities and create billions of dollars in economic impact, the resourceful thinking at the foundation of our work continues. New ideas need old spaces, and community impact requires creativity. Under this theme, we invite session proposals that highlight the ways communities are getting it done using innovative tools - from placemaking to digital outreach strategies to arts-based programming.

Changing Nature of Retail

The retail landscape has shifted in the past decade with the continued growth of e-commerce, changing consumer attitudes, and rapid closures in some retail segments. In response to these changes, , Main Street programs and the retailers they serve continue to test new approaches to experiential retail, social media, and district promotions. Sessions in this track will highlight specific ways historic commercial districts can stay competitive through bricks to clicks strategies, understanding of emerging markets, temporary space activation, and more.

Equitable Entrepreneurship

Communities of all sizes are growing and changing in new ways, and our strategies and programs to incubate new business and retain older ones must adapt to keep pace. With a focus on entrepreneurial ecosystems that grow local talent and leverage culture and place-based assets, sessions in this track will address topics that help unlock the district’s full potential by removing barriers and opening doors to underrepresented constituencies. Potential topics include transparency in policy and decision-making, inclusion in stakeholder engagement efforts, and programs that address legacies of inequality in entrepreneurship development.

Sustainable Solutions

Main Street programs are in a unique position as designers, planners and community leaders to promote the importance of environmental sustainability and green infrastructure. From transportation to building codes, the economic benefits of increased energy efficiency can be shared by our Main Street business and stakeholders, and environmentally sustainable planning can help prepare us for change, whether strategic or unplanned. In this track, we seek sessions that elevate the importance of going green - from holistic community planning practices to recycling programs and disaster preparedness - and the positive economic and organizational impacts it creates.

Preservation and Development

The preservation and reactivation of the built environment is essential to our community revitalization efforts, but too often, Main Street-scale projects sputter and stall. Pulling together incentives, processes and players relies on strong leadership and specific know-how. Maintaining engagement with stakeholders requires vision. Expansive thinking about synergies with other development needs – including attainable housing and transportation – create opportunities and challenges. Sessions in this track will place our preservation priorities in the context of these holistic efforts to spotlight case studies and ideas for new ways of thinking about old buildings.

Please submit questions to khumrichouser@savingplaces.org.