Exploring the nexus of urban design and economic development in commercial main street districts

Over the course of a decade, Susan Silberberg collaborated with Karl Seidman of Karl Seidman Consulting as colleagues in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning to teach a graduate-level practicum workshop on Revitalizing Urban Main Streets. The workshop served clients in the Boston area and in New Orleans by providing master plans that addressed the four pillars of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Streets program – economic vitality, quality design, sustainable organization, and effective marketing for downtown and local commercial districts. The revitalization plans incorporate multi-disciplinary approaches to support independent businesses, promote local culture, and enhance the quality of life for neighborhood residents.


These plans have won national and state planning awards from the American Planning Association including:


APA National Student Project Award, 2010 for “St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans” a strategy to revitalize a newly designated “Main Street” in New Orleans, LA


APA National Student Project Award, 2006 for “Two Squares, One Place” a strategy to revitalize the Hyde/Jackson Square commercial district of Boston, MA. 


APA, Massachusetts Chapter, Student Project Award, 2004 for “Egleston Square Inside Out: Visions and Strategies for Neighborhood Revitalization,” for the Egleston Square commercial District of Boston, MA.


Project type:

Arts and culture, community revitalization, corridor / main streets, downtown / district plan, placemaking, urban design


Revitalization of Urban Main Streets (Student-run projects)


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, DUSP


Boston, MA & New Orleans, LA


2002 - 2015

Project Type:

Arts and culture, community revitalization, corridor / main streets, downtown / district plan, placemaking, urban design

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Manchester Connects

CivicMoxie, LLC

617.739.MOXI (6694)

Brookline, MA

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