From inspiring plenaries and immersive mobile workshops to engaging education sessions and interactive courses, the Main Street Now 2024 schedule featured 150+ opportunities for local leaders to strengthen networks, gain new skills, and find solutions to issues impacting their communities. Click on the tabs below to explore the agenda.

Education sessions provide time-tested and leading-edge educational content on a wide range of topics relevant to commercial district revitalization professionals, civic leaders, board members, volunteers, and supporters of place-based economic development efforts. 

Click on the tiles below to view the session details and access session materials.

Please note: Main Street America cannot guarantee availability of session materials, as they are provided by speakers at their discretion. Our team is adding session materials on a rolling basis.

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Registration & Check-in7:15 AM - 6:00 PMBJCC East - First Floor
A New Day in Montgomery 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM 
The Power of Collaboration in East Alabama 8:00 AM - 5:15 PM 
Arts, Alleys, and Ales8:00 AM - 5:30 PM 
Downtown Wetumpka: Natural Beauty, Resilient Spirit, and the Takeover 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM 
Two Blue Collar Towns and Their Revival Story8:30 AM - 4:00 PM 
Main Streets in Shelby County9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 
Main Street Preservation Short Course9:00 AM - 4:00 PMForum E
Main Street 101s12:00 PM - 4:00 PMEast N
Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Meet-Up (by invite only)3:00 PM - 5:00 PM 
Welcome Reception5:30 PM - 7:30 PMCity Walk BHAM
Registration & Check-in7:30 AM - 5:00 PMBJCC East - First Floor
First Time Attendee Meet & Greet8:30 AM - 9:30 AMEast M
Opening Plenary10:30 AM - 12:00 PMAlabama Theatre
Shuttlesworth Documentary Screening and Q&A with Producers1:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast M
Pepper Place Bham 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM 
Touring with Tallulah in Jasper1:30 PM - 5:30 PM 
Starting the DEIA Conversation2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast D&E
Supporting & Investing in Black and Brown Entrepreneurs2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast B
Hope Inspires Action: Building Civic Infrastructure2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast O
Creative Ways to Say, “It’s Ugly!”2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast C
Developing a Downtown Inventory2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast F&G
RFQ/RFP Success: Scope, Perfect & Attract the Best!2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast K&L
Micro-Economic Development: The Intersection of People and Place2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast N
Turning an Empty Space into a Gathering Place2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast I&J
Festival Fiasco: Is it Time to Let That Event Go?2:00 PM - 2:45 PMForum A
Create a One-Page Marketing Strategy to Build Your Community’s Brand2:00 PM - 2:45 PMForum B
City Walk BHAM: Where Birmingham Connects2:00 PM - 2:45 PMEast A
Thriving Farmers Markets: From Start-Up to Stardom2:00 PM - 2:45 PMForum C
Human Faces, Human Stories: 3 Steps to Community Storytelling2:00 PM - 3:30 PMForum E
16th Street Baptist Church & Kelly Ingram Park 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM 
Maine's Ecosystem Builders: Creating Inclusive Entrepreneurship Opportunities3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast C
Celebrating With Science: New Opportunities for Main Streets3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast A
Main Street Vitality: Right-Sizing Regulations, Policies, and Guidelines3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast K&L
Civic Infrastructure of Action and Getting Stuff Done3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast O
Main Street Advocacy: Ready, Set, Pitch!3:00 PM - 4:15 PMForum A
Diversify your Downtown with BIPOC Businesses3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast I&J
Code and Zoning Best Practices for Economic Prosperity3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast F&G
Retail Matters: The State of Retail for Small Brick & Mortar - A Data Driven Report3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast N
How to Measure Your Downtown’s Impact3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast D&E
Historic Preservation and History Funding for Your Diverse Community3:00 PM - 4:15 PMForum C
Relationship-Driven Business Succession3:00 PM - 4:15 PMForum B
Rural Reimagined: Transforming Tennessee's Local Communities3:00 PM - 4:15 PMEast B
Board Member Roundtable3:30 PM - 5:00 PMEast M
Mental Health and the Main Street Manager3:45 PM - 5:15 PMForum E
Civil Rights History: A Tool for Community Revitalization4:30 PM - 5:15 PMForum C
The Role of Foundations in Empowering Communities: The Boston Main Streets Foundation Model4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast A
Local Government Strategies to Support Economic Vitality Through Built Environments4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast N
Thriving Together: Building Inclusive Communities Through Small Businesses4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast B
Youth to Leaders: How to Capture the Future4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast D&E
Mastering Disaster and Emergency Communications4:30 PM - 5:15 PMForum B
Advancing Social Connection to Combat Loneliness4:30 PM - 5:15 PMForum A
Engaging Latino Communities Through Your Revitalization Efforts4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast C
Whose Culture, is it? The Plight and Power of Cultural Bearers4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast I&J
Building Communities Through Time: Exploring Public History and Placemaking4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast O
Building Bridges Between Diverse Cultures in Your Community4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast K&L
Take Back the Night4:30 PM - 5:15 PMEast F&G
Big City Reception (by invite only)5:30 PM - 8:00 PM 
Registration & Check-in7:30 AM - 4:00 PMBJCC East - First Floor
Light Breakfast7:45 AM - 9:00 AMEast Ballroom
Main Street Expo7:45 AM - 5:45 PMEast Ballroom
Bookstore7:45 AM - 5:45 PMEast Ballroom
The Church, the Children, and the Community 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM 
Industrial History in Alabama 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM 
Historic Downtown Architecture Tour9:00 AM - 11:30 AM 
Main Idea Session9:00 AM - 10:30 AMSheraton, Birmingham Ballroom
Coffee Break10:00 AM - 10:30 AMEast Ballroom
El Cafecito10:00 AM - 10:30 AM1st Floor near the Registration Desk
Generating Revenue & Data for Main Streets Through Smart Curb Management10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast B
Accessing New Markets Tax Credits Subsidy10:30 AM - 11:00 AMForum A
Community-Building through International Flavors and Stories10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast D&E
Turning Main Street Blight into Workforce Housing10:30 AM - 11:00 AMForum B
The Fountain of Youth in Your Main Street10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast A
Data-led Placemaking10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast I&J
Walk This Way: How Walkability Helps Local Economies10:30 AM - 11:00 AMForum C
Equitable Entrepreneurship: Power of Community-Based Entrepreneurs & Local Coworking Spaces10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast M
Advocacy–Why You Need a Great Story!10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast K&L
Empowering Rural Voices: Strategies for Inclusive Community Leadership10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast N
The Role of Public Libraries in Bridging Divides10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast O
Small Business Ecosystems: Lessons From the Field10:30 AM - 12:00 PMEast C
Food Sustainability in an Urban Area11:00 AM - 1:30 PM 
A Main Street Outside of Downtown? How to Tell When This is a Good Idea11:15 AM - 12:00 PMForum B
Economic Vitality and Seasonal Economies11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast F&G
To Compete or Cooperate?11:15 AM - 12:00 PMForum C
Building Rural Communities Through Collaborative Visioning and Design11:15 AM - 12:00 PMForum A
Main Street Renewed: Introducing the Next Generation Resource Library and Solutions Catalog11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast O
How to Manage Risk on Main Street11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast A
Leveraging Real Estate to Advance Small Business Success in Your District11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast K&L
Creating a Successful Incubator Space11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast I&J
Y'all Means All: The Story of Pikeville Pride11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast B
Cultivating Main Streets in New Types of Places: A Roundtable Discussion11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast M
Reimagining Regulation: Targeted Reforms to Empower Local Entrepreneurs11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast N
More Content in Less Time with Smart Repurposing11:15 AM - 12:00 PMEast D&E
Rehearsal: “A Song for Main Street!” 12:00 PM - 1:00 PMSheraton, Birmingham Ballroom
Downtown Birmingham Overview12:30 PM - 4:30 PM 
Civic Leaders Lunch12:30 PM - 2:00 PMEast M
Tackling Downtown Developments with Investment Groups2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast F&G
Putting the Real in Real Estate2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast A
Anti-Displacement Strategies: Stories from the SBAN Network2:00 PM - 3:15 PMForum B
Empowering Communities to Invest in Themselves2:00 PM - 3:15 PMForum A
Building A Collaborative Community Support Network for Rural Entrepreneurs2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast N
Practical Approaches to Placekeeping2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast I&J
Is it Time for a Fifth Point?2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast K&L
Activate Rural: Artist-Led Activation of Community Assets2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast C
Unleashing Progress with Crowdsourced Work2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast B
One Theater Can Make a Difference2:00 PM - 3:15 PMForum C
Local Main Streets as Real Estate Developers2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast O
Building a Culture of Welcoming Through Inclusive Marketing2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast D&E
Equitable Access to Storefronts is All About Ownership2:00 PM - 4:00 PMForum E
From Surviving to Thriving: A Long-Term Main Street Directors Roundtable2:45 PM - 4:15 PMEast M
Using A.I. on our Main Streets3:30 PM - 4:15 PMEast O
Build Engagement by Building Trust3:30 PM - 4:15 PMEast D&E
Engaging Volunteers to Support Legacy Businesses3:30 PM - 4:15 PMEast F&G
Innovative Rural Business Models3:30 PM - 4:15 PMForum C
Your New Main Street Policies and Procedures Manual3:30 PM - 4:15 PMForum A
What's Next: From Building Inventory to Housing Action3:30 PM - 4:15 PMEast N
Messy, Amazing, Inclusive Boards that Work3:30 PM - 4:15 PMForum B
Driving Social Impact Capital to Create Thriving Main Streets: The Alabama Small Deal Fund Pilot3:30 PM - 4:15 PMEast K&L
Building a Digital Main Street3:30 PM - 4:15 PMEast A
The Secret to Filling Main Street Storefronts3:30 PM - 4:15 PMEast C
Brownfields on Main Street: Strategies, Tools, and Grants3:30 PM - 4:15 PMEast B
Exhibitor Reception4:30 PM - 5:45 PMEast Ballroom
LGBTQ+ Main Street Mixer7:00 PM - 9:00 PMAl's on Seventh
Registration & Check-in7:30 AM - 12:00 PMBJCC East - First Floor
Main Street Expo7:45 AM - 11:00 AMEast Ballroom
Bookstore7:45 AM - 11:00 AMEast Ballroom
Light Breakfast7:45 AM - 9:00 AMEast Ballroom
Catalysts Through Connectivity: Railroad Park, Rotary Trail & Rickwood Field8:45 AM - 12:00 PM 
Reimagining Local Spaces through Hazard Mitigation Planning9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast N
What Smartphone Location Data Means for Main Street9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast O
Using Surveys to Improve Your Main Street9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast M
smART Trails: Moving to Increase Economic Impact9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast C
Building the Bridge: The Community Impact of Partnerships Between Main Street and the Continuum of Care9:00 AM - 9:45 AMForum C
Activate the First 16 Feet9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast F&G
Flowing Through Decisions for Storefront Projects9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast B
Tips to Build an Effective Entrepreneurial Ecosystem9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast D&E
Creative Approaches to Downtown Challenges9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast K&L
Strategic Doing: Developing Community with Downtown Juneteenth Celebrations9:00 AM - 9:45 AMEast A
Live Podcast Recording: Main Street Business Insights9:00 AM - 9:45 AMForum B
Boards on the Rise: Advancing a Strategic, Forward-Facing Board9:00 AM - 12:00 PMEast I&J
Fostering Belonging in Public Spaces Through Live Music9:00 AM - 10:30 AMForum E
Walking Tour of Woodlawn9:00 AM - 12:00 PM 
Start with Stakeholders: Beautification and Spatial Justice10:00 AM - 10:30 AMEast O
Boosting Montreal's Local Economy Through Cycling and Walking10:00 AM - 10:30 AMEast B
Learning from the Route 66 Centennial10:00 AM - 10:30 AMEast C
Sustaining Black Culture Through Food Truck Entrepreneurship10:00 AM - 10:30 AMForum A
Funding Quick Action Projects Through the AARP Community Challenge10:00 AM - 10:30 AMEast K&L
HTC Tax Reform: New Heights or Dangerous Fall?10:00 AM - 10:30 AMEast D&E
Quilting on the Street: Connecting Generations, Enriching Asphalt10:00 AM - 10:30 AMForum C
How to Catalyze Partnerships for More Events with Less Work10:00 AM - 10:30 AMEast M
How to Run a Main Street Blog10:00 AM - 10:30 AMForum B
Birmingham's On-Demand Transit Success Story10:00 AM - 10:30 AMEast A
Coffee Break10:30 AM - 11:00 AMEast Ballroom
El Cafecito10:30 AM - 11:00 AM1st Floor near the Registration Desk
Diversify Your Revenue Sources Today!11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast K&L
Are You the Next Great American Main Street? Hear Advice and Tips from the 2024 Recipients11:00 AM - 12:15 PMForum C
Numbers + Stories + Distribution = Successful Study11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast N
Design and Cultural Education for Vibrant Places11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast C
Investment Approaches for Small Town Main Street Development11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast O
Cultural & Historic Preservation in Disinvested Communities11:00 AM - 12:15 PMForum A
Disaster Resiliency in our Main Streets11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast M
Encouraging Good Storefront Design with Façade Programs11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast D&E
Unlocking Economic Potential and Community Wealth Through Trails11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast B
MSA and USDOT: Thriving Communities and Transformative Transportation Projects11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast A
Recipe for a Successful Federal Grant Application11:00 AM - 12:15 PMEast F&G
Lamentations: Those emptying houses of worship11:00 AM - 12:15 PMForum B
Accessible Main Streets for All11:00 AM - 12:30 PMForum E
Pioneer Churches of Birmingham1:00 PM - 3:00 PM 
Big Ideas for Small Towns2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast O
Partnering with the Public Library to Support Entrepreneurs2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast F&G
Inclusive Placemaking in Action2:00 PM - 3:15 PMForum A
Cultivating Community-Centered Economic Inclusion in Rural and Small Town Commercial Corridors2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast N
People-First Strategies for Place-Based Community Investment2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast A
The Business of Preservation: Community and Cooperation in Oklahoma City2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast C
So You Have a Historic Building, Now What?2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast D&E
Lift Every Voice: Idea Share About Main Street Now2:00 PM - 3:15 PMForum E
Main Street en Español: Strategies to Engage Latino & Hispanic Communities2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast I&J
Leveraging Outdoor Recreation to Create Vibrant Alabama Downtowns2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast B
Insights from the Breaking Barriers to Business (B3) Initiative2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast M
Federal Resource Hub for Thriving Communities2:00 PM - 3:15 PMForum C
Co-Creating Civic Infrastructure for Vibrant, Connected Communities2:00 PM - 3:15 PMForum B
Starting Your Journey to Success: A Session for New Main Street Directors2:00 PM - 3:15 PMEast K&L
Closing Plenary3:45 PM - 5:30 PMSheraton, Birmingham Ballroom
Big Bash6:30 PM - 10:30 PMSloss Furnaces

Saturday, May 4 

  • Leadership Development Workshop Day 1 – 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.* 


Sunday, May 5 

  • Leadership Development Workshop Day 2 – 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.* 

  • Main Street Preservation Short Course – 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.* 

  • Main Street 101 – 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

  • Mobile Workshops – various times (See “Full Schedule” tab for details)* 

  • Welcome Reception – 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.  


Monday, May 6 

  • Opening Plenary – 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  

  • Shuttlesworth Documentary Screening and Q&A with Producers – 1:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.* 

  • Education Sessions – 2:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. (See “Sessions” tab to preview the schedule) 

  • Mobile Workshops – Various times (See “Full Schedule” tab for details)* 


Tuesday, May 7 

  • Main Idea Session – 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 

  • Education Sessions – 10:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. (See “Sessions” tab to preview the schedule) 

  • Civic Leader Lunch – 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (Included with Civic Leader registration) 

  • Mobile Workshops – Various times (See “Full Schedule” tab for details)* 

  • Exhibitor Reception – 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. 


Wednesday, May 8 

  • Education Sessions – 9:00 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. 

  • Mobile Workshops – Various times (See “Full Schedule” tab for details)* 

  • Closing Plenary – 3:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. 

  • Big Bash – 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.*  



*Additional registration required. 

From big tent sessions featuring invigorating remarks from keynote speakers and thought leaders to special events brimming with opportunities to connect and celebrate, we are excited to invite conference attendees to attend these can't miss experiences.

Welcome Reception
Sunday, May 5, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
City Walk BHAM, 9th Avenue N & 21st Street N
Included in registration, RSVP preferred.*

Join us for a party at City Walk BHAM! Meet up with old friends and make new ones while enjoying delicious bites from local food trucks, refreshing libations, and live entertainment. Whether you are a first-time conference guest or frequent attendee, the Welcome Reception is a great way to kick-off your Main Street Now 2024 experience. Come to mix, mingle, and get energized for a fun night out experiencing Birmingham’s dynamic dining scene with colleagues. 

Opening Plenary
Monday, May 6, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Alabama Theatre, 1817 3rd Ave N
Included in registration, RSVP preferred.*

Meet up at the historic Alabama Theatre for the official start of the 2024 Main Street Now Conference! Hear inspiring welcome remarks from the City of Birmingham’s Mayor Randall Woodfin and state leaders, Main Street Alabama representatives, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Salaam Green, and Erin Barnes, Main Street America’s new President & CEO, that will energize you for three action-packed days of education session, mobile workshops, and special events. Plus, celebrate the 2024 Great American Main Street Award winners, sponsored by The Hartford Insurance Group. Make sure to arrive a few minutes early to locate and secure a seat with peers from your state, region, or coordinating program delegation, and experience a spectacular musical performance on Big Bertha, the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ! The Opening Plenary is generously sponsored by Regions Bank.


Getting there: The Alabama Theatre is located 6 blocks (approximately 1 mile) from the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center. Transportation will not be provided; volunteers will be available to guide attendees who opt to walk.

Credit: mark manne photography/Main Street America

Courtesy: AL Department of Archives & History, Photo by Robert Adams/Birmingham News

Shuttlesworth Documentary Screening and Q&A
Monday, May 6, 1:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
BJCC, East M 
Tickets: $5, includes lunch.
Registration required. 

Join us for a special lunchtime screening of the critically acclaimed documentary, Shuttlesworth. Featuring exclusive interviews with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, family members, and colleagues, the film examines Shuttlesworth’s crucial contributions to the Civil Rights Movement which, in turn, helped amplify the integral role that Birmingham played as the catalyst in propelling the movement onto the national stage. After the screening, we will be joined for a discussion and Q&A with producers, T. Marie King and J. Winston, facilitated by Elijah Davis, Research Officer with the Nowak Metro Finance Lab.

Main Idea Session with Dr. Mindy Fullilove
Tuesday, May 7, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Sheraton, Birmingham Ballroom
Included in registration.

We are excited to announce that Erin Barnes, Main Street America President and CEO, will host the Main Idea session with special guest Dr. Mindy Fullilove. In this intimate fireside-style chat hear how well-designed, equitable spaces can create more connection to place and people, which can catalyze healing for communities that have experienced disinvestment.

The Main Idea session is generously sponsored by the Philip A. Morris Fund for the Design Arts, a fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

Courtesy: Dr. Mindy Fullilove

Courtesy: Dr. Akilah Watkins

Closing Plenary
Wednesday, May 8, 3:45pm – 5:30pm 
Sheraton, Birmingham Ballroom
Included in registration. 

We will conclude the 2024 Main Street Now Conference with a celebration of joy, community, and the power of place. Our closing plenary will include remarks by Erin Barnes, President and CEO of Main Street America; a graduation ceremony for Main Street America Revitalization Professional Credential recipients; the presentation of the 2024 Mary Means Leadership Award, sponsored by Regions Bank; and an inspiring keynote presented by Dr. Akilah Watkins—plus the debut musical performance of “A Song for Main Street!”

Big Bash
Wednesday, May 8, 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sloss Furnaces, 20 32nd Street N
Ticketed, registration required. 

Celebrate the closing of Main Street Now 2024 with a party at Sloss Furnaces, one of Birmingham’s unique historic landmarks. Join friends and colleagues for hors d'oeuvres, beverages, entertainment, and dancing while you immerse yourself in the Magic City’s industrial ironworks heritage. You don’t want to miss this Big Bash experience! 


Getting there: Transportation is provided. Buses will depart Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Return trips will run from 8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. 

*If you plan to attend the Welcome Reception and/or Opening Plenary, please add the events to your registration. This helps conference organizers with planning.  

In addition to perennial Main Street Approach content, Main Street Now 2024 sessions will highlight three key themes:


Welcoming & Belonging: Welcoming and belonging strategies help build bridges between new and existing residents, business owners, visitors, and other stakeholders to create stronger bonds within communities. Successful Main Streets foster a sense of community ownership for each resident by ensuring equal access to, and a role in, downtown for people from all backgrounds, including incomes, ages, races, and abilities. Whether it’s welcoming new neighbors, championing strategies to prevent gentrification or displacement, adopting immigrant-friendly policies, or creating space for group expression, Main Street organizations are well-positioned to advance these principles and strengthen their districts’ social, civic, and economic fabric. 


Connectivity through Civic Infrastructure: Civic infrastructure - parks, trails, town squares, play spaces, libraries, and other public places – boosts local economies, increases resiliency and trust, supports health and well-being, creates a more equitable society, increases civic engagement, and strengthens democracy for all. Underlying a community’s civic infrastructure is a system of interconnected policies, programs, and people that work in tandem to build and foster a sense of place. Main Streets share in the community-wide need to dedicate time and resources towards expanding access and use of civic infrastructure to enhance quality of life and create more sustainable communities with vibrant social capital. 


Reimagining Local Spaces & Economies: Major economic transformations over the past decade – from real estate market conditions and pandemic disruptions to macro-economic shifts and local entrepreneurship trends – have presented local communities with myriad challenges. In response, Main Streets have adopted future-focused solutions to leverage their place-based assets, remain competitive, and reorient their economic bases for local prosperity. To adapt in an ever-changing landscape, Main Streets can support local investment and ownership in their districts, activate underutilized spaces through creative reuse, champion people-centered infrastructure, and bolster grassroots economic vitality strategies.  

Big City Focus  
Neighborhood commercial corridors in larger cities employing the Main Street Approach face specific challenges related to bureaucracy, infrastructure, and long-term disinvestment. Big City Focus sessions bring specific insights to practitioners in these corridors and opportunities to connect with peers. 


Civic Leader  
Civic support for Main Street is essential to creating a thriving district. Sessions in this track will give Civic Leaders – whether elected officials or public administrators – tools and insights on the why and how of supporting downtown revitalization through a Main Street program.  


Climate Resiliency  
Environmental changes create ongoing challenges for Main Street programs to adapt infrastructure and plans to be resilient in the face of change. These select sessions contain guidance and ideas to lay groundwork for more adaptation of programs, and tools to be aware of in anticipation of climate change impacts.  


Core Concepts  
The foundations of the Main Street Approach remain essential to building a strong revitalization effort. Core Concepts sessions will help your program build a stable base for revitalization through best practices and case study examples.  


Design for All  
The power of design in a revitalization effort is the ability to transform spaces – through preservation, zoning, placemaking, and place-branding – to be inviting and useful to all district stakeholders. Join these sessions for best practices and dialogue about small changes with a big impact on a district’s physical environment.

Sponsored by Philip A. Morris Fund for the Design Arts, a fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham


Digital Promotion  
Utilizing digital tools has become one of the most impactful ways for Main Street programs to promote local. The ability to leverage technology translates into economic and social impact. These sessions help guide Main Streets to new ideas to put into action to bring digital downtown. 


Equity & Inclusion  
The unequal impacts of the pandemic – and the continued reckoning with longstanding racial injustices – emphasize the need for Main Street districts to prioritize equity and inclusion as a key tool to rebuilding local economies. Sessions in this track will help us understand the ways that Main Street programs can break down barriers and center diversity. 


Historic Preservation  
The preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings and spaces in Main Street districts requires specific tools and resources. These sessions address strategies and replicable ideas for Main Street and commercial district programs to better address the physical maintenance of historic built environment assets. 

Sponsored by The 1772 Foundation


Every Main Street leader is called upon to respond to the needs and concerns of our communities. Through these sessions, we look to opportunities to reflect, to regroup, and to build on our knowledge of how to lead our organizations effectively.  


Making the Case  
Measuring and communicating the value of Main Street is essential to advocating for resources for recovery. This series of sessions is focused on developing the message of your Main Street program with data, research, and tools to help illustrate the need for and impact of commercial district revitalization.  


Rural Focus  
In the smallest of communities, Main Street programs play an outsized role in transformational change to develop local economic power. These sessions will shed light on case studies and practices employed by place management organizations in rural communities. 


Supporting Entrepreneurs    
Main Street research demonstrates that 70% of Main Street businesses are grown from within the community. In these sessions, gain skills and knowledge about the ways that Main Street programs can focus on creating an environment that fosters entrepreneurship. 

Sponsored by U.S. Bank

Mobile Workshop 
Off-site, ticketed immersive learning excursion to a Birmingham neighborhood or surrounding Alabama community. All mobile workshops will depart from the BJCC East 1st Floor, near the registration desk. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the listed departure time. Tickets cannot be purchased at the bus or tour location. 


30-Minute Tactical Solution Sessions 
Succinct sessions focused on key examples from Main Street communities and partner content through sponsors.   


45-Minute Crash Courses 
Topic-specific courses that provide quick information or skill-building.   


75-Minute Classroom Sessions 
Panel discussions or conversations on a topic with opportunities for audience engagement.  


Deep Dive Sessions 
Highly interactive 1.5 to three-hour workshops on topics that require detailed instruction or discussion. 

Information and details are subject to change.