Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Course Description

This course focuses on the origins, functions, and implications of downtown management organizations (DMOs). Students who take this course will explore a variety of arrangements for managing and governing the downtown, including but not limited to, downtown business associations, business improvement districts (BIDs), and joint municipal authorities. By reading and discussing a rich and diverse set of scholarly papers and speaking with experts (both practitioners and academics), students will come to understand the underlying rationale and contemporary challenges associated with implementing these schemes in the United States, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Finally, students will apply their knowledge by generating a set of recommendations for revitalizing the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Course Objectives

This is a seminar course about downtowns - their initial dominance, their subsequent decline, and the tools and practices that have contributed to their recent revitalization. It is also a course that offers students an opportunity to put their knowledge into action by contributing to the revitalization of New Orleans. The major questions addressed in this seminar are as follows.

  1. What are downtowns? When and why did they prosper? When and why did they decline?
  2. Is there ample evidence to support the argument that downtowns are making a comeback?
  3. When, why, and in what ways have downtowns been revitalized?
  4. Which downtown revitalization tools and practices appear to be most effective?
  5. In what ways are these tools and practices ineffective and/or controversial?
  6. How do downtown revitalization tools and practices vary in the U.S.? Across national contexts?
  7. How can we apply this knowledge to the revitalization of the French Quarter in New Orleans?


Written Assignments 50%
Contribution to Group Project 30%
Class Participation 20%

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

notes Lecture Notes
assignment Written Assignments