2018 National Planning Conference

Beyond 9-to-5: Transforming Central Business Districts

Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 2:45 p.m. - 4 p.m. CDT

Location: R09

CM | 1.25

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC188022


  • Learn how to take informed action to transform your CBD or downtown into a more vibrant place.
  • Apply lessons from other cities to better address challenges facing your cities’ downtown areas.
  • Use financial incentives, zoning changes, programming, and other strategies to promote more mixed-use CBDs.


Central Business Districts in many cities are transforming from traditionally office-focused places only open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. into vibrant, mixed-use hubs active 18 or 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This transformation is neither simple nor easy, and often involves multifaceted changes to zoning regulations, tax credits, and other incentives; creative approaches to retail mix; and public space improvements and programming. In this panel session, we’ll discuss approaches used by business improvement districts, urban planners, and developers in New Orleans, Boston, and Washington, D.C., to enliven their CBDs beyond the workday. Speakers will highlight challenges and successes (and failures) from their cities, answer questions, and provoke thought about trends and opportunities for downtown areas. Lessons learned from this session will be applicable to any city with a CBD, financial district, or other office-dominated core, or to any planners seeking ways to diversify the mix of uses, spaces, and activity in commercial areas.

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Session Speakers

Jackie Dadakis
Green Coast Enterprises
New Orleans, LA

Anna C. Muessig
San Francisco, CA

Lee F. Dwyer, AICP
Silver Spring, MD

Marc Draisen
Boston, MA

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