Toward a Phenomenology of Revitalized Downtowns: A Case Study of Downtown Bryan, Texas



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Revitalized downtowns are distinct places in contemporary American culture. Yet, the draws they have for consumers have been scarcely investigated. Utilizing an expanded formulation of the consumption experience, this study aims to identify and describe these draws, or environmental amenities, through the application of semi-structured interviews of downtown consumers and business owners and first-hand observation of the cultural landscape.

The results of the study indicate that customers were willing to pay a small premium for the experience of shopping in downtown Bryan. On the other hand, the first-hand observation of downtown Bryan provided considerably more detail than the interviews.

Thus, these findings can be used to inform practical policy prescriptions for downtowns. It is suggested that policies to revitalize downtown should strengthen ?pull factors? and weaken ?push factors.? As such, community decision makers should identify these factors locally to make their downtown more attractive and less repellant to consumers.