Serving the New Urban Trend: Ambitious Business in the Modern City

City leaders are making an effort to recapture the essence of urban living: bustling streets, a wide range of diverse consumer experiences and a seemingly vast potential of opportunity all reflect the characteristics of a healthy, prosperous metropolis. At the core of this revitalization effort is the desire to implement innovative designs that are beautifully practical and logically capable of incorporating traditional urban flair with minimalist modern functionality

The new city is here.

The growing movement towards urban revitalization will alter the look and feel of previously neglected downtowns. Intuitive investors believe these types of urban landscapes pose a rare opportunity, a chance to start over and achieve success. By creating a harmonious blend of beautiful, culturally rich and technologically advanced urban centres, city leaders and the business community are confident people will quickly migrate back to the core for a lifestyle devoted to ‘live, work and play’.

According to the Creative City Network of Canada, in order to fashion a favourable brand image and global identity, city builders must create and foster a ‘sense of place’. This requires a fine balance between authentic architecture and innovative street design. New technologies are being integrated to compliment and encourage a localized street culture. In cities across North America,  main street revitalization programs are formulating a large part of public policy.  The goal is to cater to the needs and expectations of a burgeoning economy driven by local talent and tourism.

According to Richard Florida, a leading thinker in urban redevelopment, when a city creates an urban infrastructure experiential to the senses, socially diverse and technologically innovative, success is eminent. Moving people, information, services and goods, while also boasting a host of restaurants, shopping opportunities, tourist attractions and urban festivals strengthen a cities appeal.The New City - Public Space

Memorable social experiences and a unique local distinction are becoming extremely important to the new city slicker. At the street level, authentic building facades, unimpeded views of the street, comfortable seating areas and an opportunity to both ‘see and be seen’ are necessary for cities to attract people to the core.

In an effort to cater to the new urbanite, municipal politicians have drafted policies and planning measures that will entice the business community to create social entertainment spaces. This new type of urban design emphasizes seamless transition from the shop interiors to public streets. The incorporation of glass, retractable awnings, sidewalk patios and LED lighting, all serve to create an urban landscape socially visible and pedestrian friendly. Depending on the city, funding packages and financial incentives can be obtained for a variety of renovation projects such as facade improvement and patio extensions.

Businesses should strive to facilitate the exciting change taking place in our cities. Embracing beautification practices and the desire to bring the shop to the street are opportunities not to be missed. In the following weeks, the benefits and opportunities of this trend will be outlined and discussed to encourage city leaders and private interests to pursue ambitious business in the modern city.