A thriving, successful downtown business district doesn't close up shop at 6 pm when all the business people go home; nor is it dead all day to only come to life after dark. Instead, it's multi-use: a place where people can live, work, shop and be entertained -- even if it's not always the same people.
"In cities that have achieved a 24/7 nightlife, the demographics often change rather dramatically at 10 pm, between people who are going home and people who are just arriving," notes CoolTown Studios in its summary of the Responsible Hospitality Institute's criteria for vibrant and safe downtown centers. Keeping the streets and sidewalks clean and well maintained despite heavy usage is crucial.
Also important: multi-use sidewalks. "As streets become more pedestrian-oriented, they provide greater uses, from outdoor dining and entertainment to festivals." Those who choose to live on such streets need to understand this. But when done right, it doesn't necessarily hurt property values -- there are plenty of urbanites who thrive on activity, hustle and bustle. Think Manhattan; think Newbury Street. Housing in and around those areas costs a lot more per square foot than the average quiet exurb!