Small Town Downtown Revitalization: Applying the Main Street Approach to the towns of Perth and Carleton Place, Ontario
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The downtown main street of small towns is traditionally the economic, cultural, and social heart of the community, thereby requiring particular attention from planners and researchers alike. Considering modern threats to main streets including suburban sprawl and "big box" development, revitalization strategies are essential to ensuring longevity and vitality of small towns’ cores, in terms of economy, built environment, heritage, and identity. The Main Street Approach was established to mitigate challenges by providing a revitalization tool-kit for small Canadian towns, focusing on organization, marketing and promotion, economic and commercial development, and design and physical improvements. To better understand existing municipal tools for downtown revitalization in Ontario, a comparative analysis of the towns of Carleton Place and Perth's policies was conducted using the four pillars of the Main Street Approach as benchmark for best practice, and recommendations for other small towns to better incorporate revitalization policies were suggested.