Resilient Downtowns

Developing Resilient Downtowns provides a variety of learning experiences that inform successful downtown business development initiatives, with special emphasis on partnerships between public and private organizations.

This is a case study exploring downtown Canton, Illinois. Canton's case study highlights the following elements as key to their success:

  • Broad-Based Engagement and Collaboration: The more people are involved, the wider the sense of ownership is for the entire community.
  • Fluid and Open Communication: Clear communication ensures that resources are used efficiently and that nobody is left out of the loop.
  • Established Business Community Mentoring New Entrepreneurs: Using the expertise and resources of existing business owners means that everyone is contributing to building the city's economic base.
  • Thinking and Acting Regionally: Partnership is possible through sharing ideas and thinking deeply about what assets exist in the region as a whole. In this way, the growth of one community translates to the growth of all.
  • Building the Public Realm through Programming: A downtown that thrives is one that is consistently active with residents and visitors.
  • Recruiting Successful Former Community Members: This strategy, to recruit previous community members with investment capital or to maintain alliances through alumni networks, is one that can possibly do as much for other small communities as it has for Canton.