How do you spruce up a tired-looking, unappealing downtown business district? Create a pedestrian-friendly streetscape.
Don't believe it? You can actually see some vivid step-by-step transformations, thanks to Urban Advantage (Flash browser plug-in required) .
The first picture shows an existing avenue that you'd be unlikely to want to park, shop or walk on. Click through on the orange right arrow to see what happens when you 1) give the buildings a facelift, 2) re-do the street surface and sidewalks, 3) add trees and attractive lighting, and 4) attract pedestrians.
There's a second business-district example here, as well as lots of other images here.
It's really worth looking at some of these pictures to see for yourself what a pedestrian-friendly streetscape looks like, and how it can transform a neighborhood.