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Cityscape: Volume 24 Number 1 | An Evaluation of the Impact and Potential of Opportunity Zones


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

An Evaluation of the Impact and Potential of Opportunity Zones

Volume 24 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

A Method for Defining Downtown Business District Boundaries in Pre-Automobile Towns and Cities

Andrew J. Van Leuven
Oklahoma State University-Stillwater

This short article presents a method for illustrating the spatial delineation of downtown business districts in non-metropolitan counties. Although smaller than their urban counterparts, rural and exurban municipalities established before World War II typically contain a central business district, which is the dense colocation of commercial and civic activity comprising buildings and streetscapes that were developed before the automobile era and are thus oriented toward pedestrian traffic. The paper describes the method for distinguishing downtown business districts from postwar, automobile-oriented malls and retail development. A variety of use cases are discussed, highlighting the potential importance of this data for researchers and practitioners of economic development and planning

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