Goodbye Main Street?

Zoning Practice — October 2007

By Jeff Hirt, Joe Sellars


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After decades of losing ground to suburban big box stores and chain restaurants, America's main streets are once again a major focus of development activity. Thanks to new urbanism and smart growth and other infill policies that redirect development inward, these areas are witnessing a resurgence in mixed-use and commercial development. With this renewed interest in downtowns and central business districts, however, comes the issue of how to create and maintain a healthy mix of uses.

Using zoning to regulate uses is nothing new, but there are some creative strategies emerging to address the thornier issue of how to achieve the appropriate mix of uses. After all, attractive downtowns and business districts are a source of identity that distinguishes one community from another.

This issue of Zoning Practice discusses various zoning tools communities can use to contend with a lack of affordable commercial space and difficulties in maintaining a healthy mix of uses.


Page Count
Date Published
Oct. 1, 2007
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Authors

Jeff Hirt

Joe Sellars