Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Balzano, Molly (2018). A Typology of Main Street Commercial Corridors Using Cluster Analysis (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


The Main Street Organization is a nonprofit focused on commercial corridor revitalization. The National Main Street Center has created a targeted program of revitalization called the Four-Point Approach that is designed to breathe new life into local Main Streets: bolster local businesses, save the historic buildings, and reinstate downtown as a social and cultural hub. There are over 1,600 local Main Street communities, and currently, the Four-Point Approach is employed similarly across all of them. This singular application doesn’t adequately address the distinct needs of different Main Streets. While it is infeasible for the National Main Street Center to develop comprehensive programming for each of its 1,600 members, the Four Point Approach could be significantly improved if it were tailored to address the needs of similar types of communities.

A hierarchical cluster analysis (Ward’s Method) was used to group Main Street communities into six statistically similar clusters, based on comparable attributes. It is clear post-analysis that the clusters diverge in key areas: demographics, economics, and housing. With these six groups, the National Main Street Center is poised to develop more targeted programming and education designed for the specific needs of each group.


Revitalization Hierarchical cluster, CDC, BID, National Trust for Historic Preservation



Date Posted: 11 June 2018