Main Street Communities

Throughout the United States
Grounded in Community

A central focus of the planning and urban design studio at MRA is the community-centered approach that partners with the community to understand the vision and the pathway forward.  One-on-one interviews with key stakeholders and facilitated group discussion through focus groups and public meetings are conducted to gain an understanding of the goals of the community, key projects underway, and current successes to be celebrated. Looking for solutions that evolve from the site and stakeholders themselves, our approach encourages community members to inform and refine design solutions throughout the process. Once complete, this co-authorship of the plan creates a stronger sense of ownership and ensures successful implementation in the years to come.

Design as Economic Development

At MRA, we understand that good design is integral to any economic development plan. Throughout our work in Main Street communities, we look for opportunities to create vibrant, comfortable, and engaging public spaces that attract people downtown and support a viable business community. Whether park spaces, streetscapes, or pop-up spaces in alleys and parking lots, we know that good design can create ideal conditions for local, small-businesses to thrive and will support economic growth in the area. With this in mind, we encourage pedestrian-friendly solutions to create walkable downtowns that encourage extended stays and repeat visits. If appropriate, infill strategies are proposed to ensure that development occurs in places where it will have the greatest positive impact on a diverse business community, healthy downtown economy, and livable community.

Practical Solutions

We believe in solutions that strengthen and connect existing assets of the community to enhance the experience of those who live, work, shop, or play in the district. With an eye toward visionary ideas that capture the imagination and inspire, we understand that the best ideas are also practical and grounded in economic and implementation realities. We look for catalysts that allow the plan to gain momentum as one seemingly small improvement attracts additional investment and support from the community. The plans are framed by guiding principles that remain flexible to accommodate shifting influences and priorities as they evolve over time. Through this approach, we are able to help cultivate unique destinations that are rooted in their surroundings and community.

Highlighted Projects


  • Seaford Downtown Planning Charrette (2016)
  • Milford Planning Charrette (2015)
  • Bridgeville Planning Charrette (2015)


  • Chestertown Main Street Workshop (2018)
  • Waverly Main Street Implementation (2018)
  • Leonardtown Strategic Plan (2018)
  • Leonardtown Main Street Workshop (2017)
  • Frederick Post Office Square Planning Study (2016)
  • Brooklyn/Curtis Bay/Brooklyn Park Vision Plan (2016)
  • Lovettsville Planning Study (2016)
  • Chestertown Main Street Workshop (2016)
  • Jonestown Vision Plan (2015)
  • Pigtown Main Street Strategic Plan (2015)
  • Waverly Main Street Master Plan (2012) 


  • Hernando Planning Charrette (2015)
  • Kosciusko Planning Charrette (2015)
  • Cleveland Master Plan (2014)
  • Gulfport Planning Study (2014)
  • Canton Planning Charrette (2013)
  • Starksville Planning Charrette (2012)
  • Moss Point Downtown Master Plan (2011)
  • West Point Planning Charrette (2010)
  • Water Valley Planning Charrette (2010)
  • Europa Planning Charrette (2009)
  • Mississippi Main Street Training (2009)
  • Laurel-Heidelberg Planning Charrette (2009)
  • Bay St Louis Planning Charrette (2008)
  • Biloxi Planning Charrette (2008)
  • Gulfcoast Planning Charrette (2008)
  • Pascagoula Planning Charrette (2008)
  • Picayune Planning Charrette (2008)
  • Waveland Planning Charrette (2008)

North Carolina

  • Mt Holly Master Plan (2018)
  • Shelby Master Plan (2015)


  • Crilow Road Master Plan – Berlin (2017)
  • Watertown Main Street Workshop (2016) 


  • York Downtown Planning Charrette (2016)

South Carolina

  • Wade Hampton Boulevard Strategic Plan – Greenville (2018)
  • Conway Master Plan (2016)
  • Williamston Community Master Plan (2015)
  • Orangeburg Planning Charrette (2014)
  • Augusta Road Master Plan – Greenville (2011)
  • Greenwood Main Street Master Plan (2011)
  • West End Master Plan Update – Greenville (2004)


  • Pinedale Downtown Master Plan (2011)


  • Brattleboro Planning Charrette (2013)
  • Wilmington Planning Charrette (2013)
  • Waterbury Planning Charrette (2013)
  • Northfield Planning Charrette (2013)
  • Warren Planning Charrette (2013)
  • St Albans Downtown Master Plan (2009)