Last Business Standing: A Case Study of Brookings, South Dakota Main Street

Authors: David Leiferman*, South Dakota State University, Jamie Spinney, South Dakota State University
Topics: Urban Geography, Gender, Geography and Urban Health
Keywords: Cultural landscape, Main Street, uncontrolled observation, community character, urban geography
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Main Street is more than a place; it is an idea, which epitomizes small-town America. It is where locally-owned shops sell goods and services to their local townspeople. However, since around the 1920’s downtown businesses have struggled to survive, due to the decentralization of people and retail operations. Many communities are investing in the process of place-making to rejuvenate their downtown areas with varying levels of success. This research provides a case study of Main Street in Brookings, SD to determine the success of its downtown revitalization plan and evaluate the dynamic cultural landscape. Uncontrolled observations were used to collect information about the location, timing, and personal characteristics of patrons to Main Street businesses. Results suggest the landscape has effectively transitioned from retail to a service-based industry catering largely to university student populations. This case study establishes what different Main Street establishments mean to various demographic groups throughout the day.

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