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Small Town Downtown

Small Town Downtowns are commercial areas of towns and small cities that have some standing as the traditional downtown of that town or city. They are distinct from Downtown Main Streets not just in terms of scale but also might have a less robust mix of uses. For example some small downtowns might no longer have significant amounts of residential uses present within the downtown. Some smaller urban places do not have downtowns, per se, and may aspire to creation of activity centers that could function as downtown-like places. Such newer activity centers are more likely to fit into one of the other categories below, but planning for them could use this category as a planning and design standard. The principal through street in many small town downtowns is a state highway.

13th Street, Boulder
Credit: Charlier Associates
Small town downtown
Credit: CH2M HILL

Design considerations can be divided into three major categories:

  • Multimodal Corridor Planning deals with the design of the transportation network and its performance.
  • Site Planning involves site- and building-specific issues such as density, urban scale, and floor area ratio.
  • The Choices & Guidelines section encompasses numerous design matters including parking, setbacks, lighting, and drainage, among others.

For more information about design and the relationship between the public roadway and private property see the Design Tutorial.

Process considerations deal with the steps and procedures involved in the planning process. This manual addresses nine specific process areas.