Imagine that your Mercedes was not working properly, and you set out to fix it yourself. There are three things you would need to know:

  • What are the key FUNCTIONAL areas of the engine? (Power generation, combustion and engine cooling)
  • What are the COMPONENTS that support those FUNCTIONS?(Battery/ignition system, sparkplugs/piston system and radiator/motor oil system)
  • What are the OPERATING CONDITIONS under which the engine is designed to FUNCTION? (Fuel, coolant, oil, maintenance)

As the engine that drives the city, the Downtown also has key FUNCTIONS, COMPONENTS and OPERATING CONDITIONS. Trying to fix the Downtown without addressing these is like trying to fix your Mercedes without knowing how the engine functions, what parts are needed or what to do to keep it in working order.

The Downtown provides the inhabitants of the City with 5 KEY FUNCTIONS:

  • It is a Center of Commerce
  • It stores and exposes the History of the inhabitants
  • It celebrates their accomplishments and their aspirations
  • It provides opportunities for the sharing of their Culture
  • It provides symbols of their Civic Sovereignty.

To accomplish these 5 FUNCTIONS, the inhabitants must put in place the following COMPONENTS:

  • They must identify and develop a Main Street.
  • They must have opportunities for Entertainment and Amusement.
  • They must create spaces that celebrate their civic and social consciousness.

Once these things are in place, then, the inhabitants must address the OPERATING CONDITIONS of a Downtown:

  • Commerce relevant to the inhabitants’ day-to-day lives
  • Convenient conditions for the use of the Downtown
  • A celebration of Pedestrian Movement
  • 24-hour Use

These are the factors that must be addressed in any attempt to create a sustainable Downtown. The reliance on one-off attractions, however successful, will only result in temporary activity, and will prove short-term at best.

The Downtown is the engine that drives the City. It will not operate properly without attention to its

5 Functions

3 Key Components

4 Operating Conditions.


The shiny Mercedes may well be the thing that brings joy and satisfaction to its owner, but it is its ability to take him from place to place comfortably that makes the ownership ultimately rewarding. A Downtown that is well manicured and beautifully painted, but has parts missing will inevitably find itself sidelined and inoperable. The prescription for its repair will always be the simple formula – 5+3+4.