Founded in 1980, the Michigan Downtown Association (MDA) is a state-wide, non-profit organization and a driving force in the interest and growth of downtowns and communities throughout Michigan. The MDA encourages the development, redevelopment and continuing improvement of Michigan communities and downtowns. Its members support economic development within the State of Michigan and include:

Cities, Township, Villages
Business Improvement Districts
Principal Shopping Districts
Chambers of Commerce
Downtown Development Authorities
Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities
Local Development Financing Authorities
Tax Increment Financing Authorities
Consultants and Consulting Firms 

MDA Mission & Vision

The 2019 MDA Strategic Plan can be found by clicking here.

Take a look at our 2018 Annual Report by clicking here.

The mission of the Michigan Downtown Association is to strengthen downtowns.

The vision of the Michigan Downtown Association is to be the leader in preserving and enhancing downtowns through education and advocacy.

MDA Goals

The MDA strives to:
  • Provide a forum for members on revitalization issues.
  • Educate members, the public, State legislators, and other public officials about the best tools for the improvement of communities.
  • Promote and encourage the implementation of effective, comprehensive legal and financing instruments to further such improvement.
  • Study current legislation and develop new legislation strategies.
  • Perform studies on the effectiveness of revitalization efforts.
  • Assist member communities in interacting and networking with one another.
  • Work cooperatively with other statewide agencies to further downtown development.

Definition of a Downtown District

A downtown is the densely settled commercial core of a community that serves as its social and economic center that has intensive commercial or mixed uses with contiguous multiple blocks of zero lot line buildings with adjacent medium density areas that allow for district growth, and these downtowns have intensive public and private capital investment.

Downtowns have the following characteristics:

  • Multi-functional with places to shop, work, dine, live, worship, receive governmental services, be entertained, and enjoy a variety of cultural offerings;

  • Contain at least one commercial street with majority of spaces devoted to retail and characterized by a predominance of large storefront display windows;

  • Concentration of buildings dating from a variety of periods under multiple ownership structures that forms a unique character that has evolved over time and reflects the community's character;

  • Compact, walkable, pedestrian-orientated district with buildings located in a manner that creates continuous facades set close to or on the property line with entry to buildings directly from sidewalks; and

  • Acts as a key defning feature of the community's overall Sense of Place.

Approved - MDA Board Retreat Jan. 25, 2013