Award Categories

Awards Categories Hero

Visit our Webstore to purchase a previously recorded Best Practices Webinar to learn even more about past award-winning projects. Downtown organizations submitting in ANY category: please be very specific on your exact role in the development of this poject when entering your submission. This can be reflected easiest within the two-page summary. 

Downtown Leadership and Management

Unique organizational approaches, projects, etc. that improve the effectiveness of downtown management organizations.

  • Example: Downtown Fort Worth Inc. and partners worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and were successful in changing the USFWS falconry rules, subsequently drastically reducing the nagging problem of unwanted birds in the area; the El Paso Downtown Management District achieved a major overhaul of a bloated, labyrinthine event application process with the help of the City of El Paso to advance the vision of a fully revitalized, thriving downtown; The Alliance for Downtown New York's response to Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 was a multi-faceted effort that called on the full complement of tools at the Alliance’s disposal to address a complex set of challenges including preparation, communication, assistance and advocacy.

Economic and Business Development

Successful marketing efforts and strategies that have recruited new businesses or improved retention efforts in downtown.

  • Examples: The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership created a program that allowed for full building façade renovations and in the past six years, more than 50 projects have been approved and 43 projects have been completed; the Downtown Dayton Partnership helped launch a Pop-Up Project giving entrepreneurs a low-risk way to test a business concept downtown resulting in first-floor occupancy rates found that at year-end 2010, first-floor space was 62% occupied and by mid-January of 2013, that number had increased to 79% occupied.


Planning efforts that have established a strategic position for downtown, and that include elements of the plan that have already been approved, ratified, and implemented.

  • Example: The City of Victoria and the Victoria Civic Heritage Trust introduced a program of tax exemptions for Heritage-Designated buildings resulting in 34 heritage buildings being completely rehabilitated and seismically upgraded, 600 new residential units being created downtown, and $205 million in new private investment revitalizing the historic center of the city.

Public Space

Public space capital improvements that have enhanced the urban design, transporation methods, physical function, or economic viability of downtown and the community. 

  • Example: The City of Lancaster, CA developed a strategic vision for their downtown and re-branded it as "The BLVD", already yielding an estimated $273 million in economic output, 50 new businesses and more than 1,900 jobs; The Indianapolis Downtown Inc. and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail connected Downtown’s major arts and cultural institutions, neighborhoods and the region’s vast greenway system by creating the beautiful, 8-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick; The City of New Westminster designed Westminster Pier Park to greatly improve the livability of the City's Downtown neighborhood. 

Marketing and Communication

Plans or strategies that use print, electronic media, or multimedia efforts to promote downtown.

  • Example: The Downtown SLC Alliance used a comprehensive graphics campaign that included banners showcasing some of the faces of downtown, a new publication Downtown the Magazine and TV commercials designed to showcase the diverse voices that make up downtown Salt Lake City.

Events and Programming

Programs and events that improved the image and vitality of downtown.

  • Example: Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. and Artprize attract 400,000 people and generate more than $15 million annually showcasing various artist creations throughout the community; Madison Avenue BID was able to utilize special in-store programming, local advertising, and a calendar of public and private activities, hosting 80 in-store events with 17 participating retailers.

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