Agenda and Presentations
Nova Scotia Main Streets Ideas Exchange
Main Streets Health Check
Our introduction to the conference was an opportunity to hear from leading practitioners in the province active in creating main street strategies. FBM provided an overview of the Nova Scotia Main Streets Initiative and the resulting Workbook and Main Streets Assessment Method, along with examples of other communities taking steps to assess, identify and define their main street visions. Fathom Studios and Upland Planning + Design shared practical examples and lessons learned from main street projects across the province that have helped to reinvigorate main streets with respect to mobility, connectivity, health, and economic resilience.
Opening Session – Mobility and Safety for All
With a diverse cross-section of panelist perspectives from public sector, private sector and local advocacy, we heard about the challenges they have faced as well as the successes as it relates to creating safer streetscapes for pedestrians, cyclists, and/or those with other mobility challenges. The panel discussed how a balance of modes can be achieved while recognizing that traditional vehicle movement is integral to bringing people to and through the main street areas, whether as regional residents or visitors.
Afternoon Session – Health & Belonging in Main Streets
Main Streets are more than just places for buildings and streets, they must offer necessary and welcoming spaces for social and emotional connection and belonging. Along with nostalgia, main streets are important for bringing people together and creating a sense of renewal and reinvention, which affects our physical and mental health. Building upon the idea of Mobility and Safety for All, our panelists shared the often hidden value that main streets have in embodying peace and wellness, as well as creating an environment for active lifestyles that benefit our physical health and wellbeing.
Closing Session – Economy of Place – Cultivating Commerce
The economy of place speaks to the value that businesses bring to a community and a main street, where every community has something to market. The closing session looked at the successes and challenges facing local businesses in main streets and how a renewed or reinvented main street can lead to attraction and retention of businesses. We heard about the importance of business incubation or succession planning and how a vibrant main street environment in smaller communities is necessary to attract new residents, as well as entice passing motorists to slow or stop in the town, when they otherwise may not have. With practical examples, panelists shared positive changes or initiatives in other communities across the province.