Predicting Policy Performance: Downtown Revitalization Strategies in Small Canadian Cities

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Blatz, Michael
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Downtown Portage la Prairie, Manitoba is at a crossroads as globalization and urbanization take hold. Its economic base is shifting, population growth is stagnating, and development is peripheralizing, but the city has also seen over $1 billion in new industrial investment since January 2017. Portage la Prairie is optimistic this will turn the tides for the entire city, downtown included, and the City prioritized downtown revitalization in its 15 Year Community Sustainable Development Plan. Through semi-structured interviews, I examined what factors contribute to effective implementation of urban design plans as part of downtown revitalization schemes in three precedent cities and explored applications for Portage la Prairie. I found effective implementation was predicated on a city’s existing endogenous capital, communication, and complementary planning initiatives. In the end, however, design plans are only a small part of the revitalization puzzle and regulation alone will not stimulate development.
Urban Design, Revitalization, Small Cities, Urban Planning