Downtown Playbook

Discover Your Community’s Potential

Community leaders like you are at the forefront of civic transformation. You understand the need for practical, actionable steps to move beyond endless planning and discussions and towards meaningful progress. The Downtown Playbook is your tool to turn aspirations into reality, focusing on immediate, visible improvements in your community.

Overcoming Civic Stagnation

Frustration arises when community input leads nowhere, plans collect dust, and promised improvements remain unfulfilled. Traditional civic improvement tools often overlook the practicalities of implementation, leaving you and your residents feeling unheard and apathetic. Change this narrative with the Downtown Playbook, a method focused on tangible results.

Guided by Experience and Expertise

Jeff, the place guy

Jeff Siegler is an author, speaker, elected official, and consultant concerned with the powerful role “place” plays in our lives. He is the founder of the civic pride consulting firm, Revitalize, or Die and co-founder of the organization Proud Places. After obtaining his Master’s in Urban Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University, Jeff went to work on Main Street. First as a downtown manager, and later as the Ohio Main Street State Coordinator. His first book, “Your City is Sick” was published in September of 2023 . Jeff and his wife Amber and their four kids call Pittsburgh home.

 

Justin, the tech guy

Justin Copenhaver is the founder and CEO of Urality, a web-based smart city platform for community engagement, planning, and economic development. Justin has been working as a software engineer for 20+ years, with experience building enterprise applications and working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). With Urality, Justin has found his home in helping communities promote and activate their downtowns through the use of digital storytelling, event promotion, and public contribution. Justin lives in North Wales Pennsylvania, about 20 mi northwest of Center City Philadelphia.

 

Your Blueprint for Civic Renewal

The Downtown Playbook offers a clear, step-by-step plan: forming a Playbook Implementation Team, creating baselines, and executing across three crucial pillars—Social Opportunity, Aesthetics, and Local Ownership. Track your progress and celebrate each success, building momentum and civic pride.

The Downtown Playbook Pillars

Local Ownership

Fostering the next generation of local owners by focusing on policies that promote local ownership as well as educating future developers. Key focus areas are examining the current construction process and encouraging property owners to meet local property standards.

 

 

Aesthetics

Making your place beautiful, from basics such as planting flowers and pulling weeds, to design and buildout of pedestrian friendly spaces, as well as promoting ordinances that promote a healthy public realm for residents.

 

 

 

Social Opportunity

Expanding social opportunities for all demographics in the community, from clubs, to intramurals, to activating public space with programming that gets more residents involved and into the community.

 

 

Join the Movement

Your community is poised for change, and the Downtown Playbook is the catalyst. This is your call to action: to step beyond conventional methods and to embrace a new, effective approach to revitalization. Become a part of a network of community leaders driving real, measurable progress.

Move Beyond Past Failures

The Downtown Playbook is not a theoretical plan or a survey; it’s an action-oriented service. By focusing on existing challenges and leveraging local strengths, this approach mitigates the risk of repeating past failures and fosters a proactive community spirit.

Envisioning a Vibrant Future

Imagine a community where every step forward is visible, where civic pride is palpable, and where residents are actively engaged in shaping their environment. This is the success that awaits you with the Downtown Playbook. Transform your community into a beacon of progress and vitality.

How is this different than what I’ve done before?

Our ethos is simple; strategies that are generally accepted to repair civic health are tired and boring. We want to help you adopt a new attitude that resonates with your community and gives everyone a sense of belonging and ownership in revitalization. Here are some key things we expect:

  • Embrace Joy! People will claim they are burnt out when all too often, they are bored. Don’t be boring, be fun. Enjoying the
    work does not in any way diminish your effectiveness or its importance. You will find more people want to get involved if you add a little joy to the process.
  • Be social. Get out of your screens and make the work as social as possible. Involve party planners, bring the fun committee! Stay out of the board rooms and meet at bars or front porches!
  • Lighten up. Your work is going to make a difference and that’s what matters most. Don’t get bogged down in the details and don’t nitpick the small things.
  • CELEBRATE! Recognize your accomplishments and celebrate accordingly. People rally behind a winner so act like a winner and share your accomplishments with the community. Most residents have only had bad news for decades; give them some good news and you may be surprised with their reaction.

 

What does the Downtown Playbook look like in action?

Once selected for the Downtown Playbook, we will arrange an on-site kickoff with your Downtown Playbook team to lay the ground rules for the initiative, and we will guide you through the first steps of the program:

  1. Creating a baseline. A plan without any criteria for success isn’t much of a plan. We’ll help you understand where you’re at today, and how that aligns with your strategic objectives and help you build a realistic path to your desired outcomes.
  2. Explaining the process. A comprehensive plan is thin on execution. This plan isn’t. We’ll give you a framework and tools for managing your initiatives so you’ll be able to share and demonstrate your work, as well as measure progress.
  3. Prioritizing objectives. Success builds on success. We want to see you succeed quickly so you gain momentum with your initiatives and more community members will want to join.

 

We’ll end the kickoff with a community project that will serve two purposes: It will give you a first taste of success, and it will give you a platform to talk to the community at large about the Downtown Playbook program.

From there, it’s up to you and your team to get to work. We’ll check in regularly, but progress is not possible without effort, and your team and community will need to commit to the objectives you’ve prioritized.

Start Your Journey Today

Ready to make a difference? Fill out our Downtown Playbook Intake Questionnaire. It’s your first step towards a revitalized community.

Let’s get to work!
Take the Downtown Playbook Survey