Our Approach

The Main Street Approach

The Main Street Approach is a time-tested framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization.


Your Roadmap to Revitalization

Every community and commercial district is different, with its own distinctive assets and sense of place. The Main Street Approach™ offers community-based revitalization initiatives with a practical, adaptable framework for downtown transformation that is easily tailored to local conditions. The Main Street Approach helps communities get started with revitalization, and grows with them over time.

Main Street Fundamentals

  • The Main Street Approach is centered around Transformation Strategies. A Transformation Strategy articulates a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy.
  • A program’s work on Transformation Strategies should be organized around the Four Points: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, and Organization.
  • A revitalization program’s work – and its Transformation Strategies – need to be informed by a solid understanding of local and regional market data, and sustained and inclusive community engagement.

What Are Transformation Strategies?

Transformation Strategies – generated through meaningful community engagement and informed by an analysis of the district’s market position — help to guide a revitalization program’s work. An effective Transformation Strategy serves a particular customer segment, responds to an underserved market demand, or creates a differentiated destination.

Some "ready-to-use" strategies — called Catalyst Strategies — fall into two broad categories: those that are focused on a specific customer segment and those that are focused on an industry, product, or service segment.

Examples include:

•  Workers and Residents
•  Elder Friendly and Aging-in-Place
•  Family-Friendly
•  Agriculture Center
•  Arts (performing and visual)
•  College Town
•  Convenience Goods and Services
•  Entertainment and Nightlife
•  Knowledge Economy

What Are the Four Points?


Transformation Strategies are implemented through comprehensive work in four broad areas, known as the Four Points.

focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies.
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DESIGN supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.
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PROMOTION positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.
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ORGANIZATION involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.
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Dive Deeper into The Four Points

We’re excited that your community is working towards strengthening your downtown or commercial district! While each Point is important individually, the most successful Main Street communities are those that have a balanced approach to the Four Points, with each receiving an equal amount of attention to realize the unified community vision. Our Main Street Foundations series provides an overview of each Point through a comprehensive introductory video and accompanying one-page guides, resources, and more.

Click the buttons below to learn more, access resources, and get started! 

Additional Resources


Additional resources

Community Transformation

Learn how your Main Street program can better align your work around district-specific strategies.



additional resources

Main Street Refresh

Learn about the process, key takeaways and vital updates to the Main Street Approach.



Additional resources

Measuring Impact

Learn how to capture and communicate the value of your work.


Field Services

With decades of combined experience leading and advising commercial district revitalization efforts, the Main Street America field services team offers unparalleled support to local, city, and state-wide partners.

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