Central Business Districts (CBDs) are facing the challenges of change. People are changing the way they go about their lives and in particular how they spend their money. Many CBD’s are struggling to remain relevant against competition from big box retailers and as offices move to the cloud. As a result the CBD is evolving as a place for small footprint boutique retailers, cafes, bars, restaurants and inner city apartment living. That evolution is taking some time (decades) to work through but some provincial towns are taking the initiative by taking action now.
One I visited recently had just removed parking meters from its CBD. They have made parking free, with a three hour time limit.