A broad constituency of stakeholders - including residents, visitors, entrepreneurs and customers - produce a thriving Main Street district. As centers of economic and social opportunity, commercial districts impact the health and prosperity of all stakeholders, and thus they should be reflective of and in service to all members of the community.
Despite this, we know that barriers - direct and indirect, historic and current - have prevented this vision of full participation in communities and commercial districts from becoming a universal reality. From land-use policies to business finance practices, our systems have intentionally excluded marginalized groups while bolstering prosperity for those with power. And, many of the forces driving change on our Main Streets today, especially rapid demographic shifts and technological innovations, are deepening existing inequities.
This history, and our collective role in shaping the future of communities, positions our movement at the center of some of the most pressing issues in our society today: Who belongs? Who’s represented? Who thrives?
To fulfill our mission, we must recognize inequity and embrace change. The Main Street Approach, with its emphasis on community engagement as a core element of district strategy, can offer a path forward. But creating places of shared prosperity, equal access, and inclusive engagement requires sustained commitment to education and action.
There’s important work for us to do to fully realize this vision. We’re excited to embark on taking next steps together and hear what you are doing to shape an inclusive future.