- LISC Commercial Markets Advisory Service, “Commercial Revitalization Planning Guide: A Toolkit for Community Based Organizations”. This is probably the best free resource out there. It is a basic “how-to” manual for practitioners based out of community development organizations. The manual includes practical step-by-step instructions and a good set of document templates for use.
- Fannie Mae Foundation, “Revitalizing Commerce for America’s City’s”. The author, Karl Siedman, is a professor/practitioner based at MIT. Karl is also my go-to guy on economic development policy for commercial revitalization. What I appreciate about this book is the recognition that a single framework for successful commercial district revitalization is elusive. Karl defines district revitalization efforts by four types of orientation: “development-oriented”, “retention-oriented”, “promotion-oriented” and “organization-oriented”. Knowing what kind of district you are can help you determine how to allocate resources more effectively.
- “Making Business Districts Work” Ed. Feehan, Feit This book is a very good summary of the set of skills and information that newbies need when they start work in this field. Feehan was the former president of the International Downtown Association. Available via Amazon.com and other on-line outlets.
- Larry Houston, "Business Improvement Districts". Larry Houston is one of the granddaddies of the field. While this book could stand some updating, it is a good basic read that withstands the test of time. Available via Amazon.com.
These are some of my favorite, but I'd love to hear other suggestions from readers...