Revitalization of historic commercial areas through the main street program in U.S.A.: a case study from the boston main streets program

Esen, Sibel Yıldırım
Considering revitalization as a way of improving three interrelated aspects of quality of life including physical quality, social and economic welfare, this study sets out an evaluation framework to measure the success of implementations aiming to revitalize historic commercial places. This framework emerges from the qualities of built environments which are defined with reference to the normative urban design theory developed by Kevin Lynch. Urban qualities are defined with a comprehensive approach which takes into account spatial, social, and economic aspects of creating urban places. The Main Street Program, subject of this study, is a historic commercial district revitalization program developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States. This program introduces a preservation-based revitalization model. Based on a comprehensive approach, the program suggests working simultaneously on organization, design, economic restructuring, and promotion. This study analyzes the revitalization model of the Main Street Program by looking at its various aspects including organization models, funding tools, involvement of local communities, contributions of the federal and local governments, implementation, and self-evaluation. Besides, it introduces a citywide coordinating program, Boston Main Streets. Finally, it analyzes the revitalization of Washington Street in South End, Boston, one of the places where Main Street Program has been implemented. The street has been transformed from a vacant and deteriorated commercial street into a more vital, pedestrian oriented, mixed use place in a decade. This study aims to analyze the case from three different points. First, the success of the program is evaluated within the above framework. Second, the effectiveness of the program is examined through an outcome analysis. Finally, the organizational performance of the Main Street organization is analyzed.


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Citation Formats
S. Y. Esen, “Revitalization of historic commercial areas through the main street program in U.S.A.: a case study from the boston main streets program,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2006.