Downtowns 360˚ is a collaborative approach to building support and momentum for downtown revitalization.


Created by the Canadian Urban Institute to help downtowns across Canada demonstrate return on investment and increase support from funders and decision-makers, Downtowns 360˚ has three main components: 

Measurement: Determining what to measure and how to measure it; identifying the indicators, data sources and data sharing partners; collecting and organizing the data. 

Evaluation: Analyzing data and drawing conclusions about the downtown; understanding where to invest and how to make effective decisions; comparing the downtown over time, to the rest of the city, and to other downtowns.  

Communication and Visualization: Using a range of visual aids, such as maps, graphs, infographics, and communication tools, such as reports, score cards to communicate your messages and tell the story of the downtown. 


Participation in Downtowns 360˚has a range of benefits and impacts:

Demonstrate the return on investment Downtowns 360˚ allows downtowns to illustrate that investment in physical and social infrastructure in a downtown can deliver a measurably significant return on investment.

Emphasize the vibrancy of the downtown Data is used to show that a downtown is thriving and has a wide range of amenities that employees and residents want. Highlighting a downtown's vibrancy can work in turn to attract more people to visit, shop, live and invest in the downtown. 

Make more informed decisions Downtowns 360˚ provides important information about what is working well and where more effort is needed.  It can help decision-makers better understand where to focus their financial and staff resources. 

Increase support from funders and decision-makers When presented in a compelling way, the data can help to garner support from within the municipality, local councillors and other private and public partners.  

Compare progress between downtowns The Downtowns 360˚ process facilities comparisons between Canadian downtowns, which helps downtowns to understand what is working well and where more effort and investment is needed. 


Downtowns 360˚ has evolved from many years of measuring and analyzing the success of Canadian downtowns.   


In 2011, the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) was retained by Downtowns Canada and the International Downtown Association (IDA) to conduct a study called The Value of Investing Canadian Downtowns and prepare a series of downtown case studies.  Additional case studies were prepared in Northern Ontario, funded by Ontario Trillium Foundation. The process helped 22 Canadian downtowns establish measures of success and investment and measure their economic, social and cultural health. 

In addition to developing the Value of Investing in Canadian Downtowns report, CUI has been involved in several other downtown projects that emphasize the important role downtowns play in the sustainability, health and quality of life of people across the country. 

Downtowns 360˚ was created to help bring this methodology to other municipalities and downtowns across Canada.  


Because downtowns matter... 


Downtowns are where most cities began. They are where you find City Hall and where people go to celebrate important events in the life of their city.

Downtowns are the place to enjoy the most remarkable heritage buildings and where young entrepreneurs find the spaces to transition their ideas to the global marketplace. 

Our research shows that downtowns are still a preferred place to shop, dine and entertain – even after the advent of suburban malls. 

Municipal investments in downtown also pay dividends, not just for downtown retailers or the head offices of corporations located on Main Street but to a city’s entire tax base.  


The false economics of suburban development and other competing trends can create barriers to prosperity downtown.  

That's why measuring, evaluating and promoting the state of play in downtowns is critical. 


Since 2011, CUI has worked with project partners in more than 20 downtowns across Canada.


  • City of Vancouver
  • City of Edmonton
  • Downtown Saskatoon
  • City of Saskatoon
  • Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
  • City of Winnipeg
  • City of London
  • Downtown London
  • Downtown Yonge BIA
  • Downtown Rideau
  • City of Ottawa
  • Downtown Fredericton
  • City of Thunder Bay 
  • City of Timmins 
  • Downtown Timmins BIA
  • City of North Bay 
  • Downtown Halifax Business Commission
  • Halifax Regional Municipality       


  • International Downtown Association
  • Regina Downtown BID
  • The City of Regina
  • St. Catharines Downtown Association
  • City of St. Catharines
  • Downtown Charlottetown Inc.
  • The City of Charlottetown
  • The City of North Vancouver
  • The Downtown Windsor BIA
  • The City of Windsor
  • Downtown Sault BIA
  • The City of Hamilton
  • Downtown Hamilton BIA
  • Downtown Sudbury 
  • City of Kingston
  • Downtown Kingston BIA        
  • City of Fredericton
  • City of Toronto
  • City of Moncton