As long as downtowns thrive, we can be certain of a prosperous and thrilling future for the American city. Some downtowns, including Uptown Houston and Atlanta’s Buckhead, have never stopped thriving. Others, such as downtown Detroit, have been in decline for half a century. A third trajectory includes downtowns such as lower Manhattan and downtown Los Angeles that were once on the decline and are now resurgent. Why are some downtowns in trouble while others are thriving? And what does it take to ensure a healthy future for the heart of America’s cities?

Distinguished urban planner Alexander Garvin answers these questions and lays out concrete recommendations to help any downtown thrive in The Heart of the City: Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century. Drawing on nearly five decades of experience studying and working in America’s cities, Garvin identifies shared elements of great downtowns, offers lessons from successful and failed projects, and charts a path forward to support downtowns into the twenty-first century.

Check out Chapter 1 "What is Downtown?" below or download the PDF here