Main Streets are the socio-economic centers of rural communities. Their ability to thrive is essential to the continued economic success of small cities and towns, and these centers imbue their residents with a sense of place. This awareness is often tied to the past, inextricability set in the present and looking toward the future. Facing challenges of today means keeping Main Street surviving and even thriving. Tomorrow’s future doesn’t mean leaving everything behind but, rather, acknowledging what to save and what to improve. Reimagining Main Streets can enliven stakeholders and residents in fundamentally new ways. Join us at Radically Rural as we explore the rebirth of Main Street and the positive impacts available to rural communities.

Who Should Attend: Business owners and professionals, municipal and city planners, community members, volunteers and indivduals interested in community revitalization.


Take Your Empty Buildings off Furlough!

September 24 | 9:00 am – 10:45 am

Want to create opportunity in those Main Street empty buildings but don’t know how? Join Deb Brown, co-founder of SaveYour.Town, as she takes you on an odyssey to reimagine and reinvigorate a small town’s Main Street. Envision with Deb what these buildings can become. Learn to communicate with owners in new ways to change their minds and join your vision. Hear about communities already doing this work and reaping benefits. And don’t forget those empty lots, too!

Speaker: Deb Brown, Co-Founder of SaveYour.Town



New Ruralism: Making It on Main Street

September 24 | 11:00 am – 12:45 pm

What’s New Ruralism? It’s reimagining rural Main Streets to be more than structures, but alive with the hum of community answering the needs of it residents. From Arts Collaboratives to Food Hubs to Community Centers locally driven programs are drawing in community, creating hubs and enriching rural regions.

Join the New Ruralism Project on a virtual success tour of case studies. Start in Alaska for a story of spirit as locals take control of their food system to reduce costs and provide environmental and social sustainability; travel on to New York to learn how to turn an empty building into a thriving Community Center; go south to Alabama to learn lessons from an old auto dealership’s transformation into a cultural arts hub for the community and so much more. Leave inspired with case studies and references to provide guidance to create your own success story.

New Ruralism is a project of the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) with support from APA and its Small Town and Rural Planning Division.

Speakers: Jo Anne Carr, Director of Planning & Economic Development for the Town of Jaffrey; Jennifer Whittaker, Research Associate for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia



A Mix of Old and New – Rural Livable Downtowns

September 24 | 2:00 pm – 3:45 pm

Do you walk down your rural Main Street, loving the historic architecture but wanting all the modern-day conveniences, too? Do you wonder how to maintain the old and bring in the new? Let Robert Stevens from Stevens & Associates take you on an architectural journey of discovery as he speaks to adaptive reuse of old buildings, sensitive new building design and creating a pedestrian-friendly downtown for the 21st century. You will leave this session inspired by what is already available in your community and ways to move forward with change that is appropriate and supportive of a diverse, robust and thriving downtown.

Speaker: Robert Stevens, P.C., Founder and President of Stevens & Associates

Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship Key Partners

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