Josh is a leader in the revitalization of historic commercial districts. He uses local data to craft market-based strategies that help cities and communities build economically differentiated, dynamic places. He lectures and publishes on two of his favorite topics – creating sustainable clusters of independent and chain businesses, and the development of crowdsourced and crowdfunded community-owned businesses.
Before joining the CLUE Group, Josh led the National Trust Main Street Center’s urban expansion efforts, establishing the citywide Boston Main Streets program in 19 neighborhoods, as well as individual neighborhood Main Street programs in Cleveland, St. Louis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, Philadelphia, and others.
Josh received his B.A. from Columbia University and a master's in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. A former molecular biologist, he has more than 20 years of experience in revitalizing downtowns, first as executive director of Main Street South Orange, in South Orange, NJ, in the early 1990s, and then as a senior program officer at the National Main Street Center from 1995 to 2005. He joined CLUE Group in 2005. In 2007 he graduated from the preservation carpentry program at the North Bennet Street School, a historic trades school in Boston. Josh serves as an officer on the board of directors of Weavers Way Cooperative, a $20 million enterprise in Philadelphia with two grocery stores, a pet supplies store, and two health-and-beauty-aid stores.
Kennedy is one of the nation’s foremost experts on commercial district revitalization, downtown economics, and independent business development. She co-founded the CLUE Group in 2004. Kennedy’s work focuses particular attention on creating dynamic retail development plans, cultivating locally owned businesses, creating effective business and property development incentives, finding new uses for key historic buildings, and strengthening the organizational infrastructure needed to create vibrant town centers.
Before launching the CLUE Group, Kennedy served on the staff of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center for 19 years, the last 14 of them as the director of the national Main Street program. During her tenure the Main Street program became one of the most successful economic development programs in the US, generating $18 billion in new investment and stimulating development of 226,000 new jobs and 56,000 new businesses and expanding to a nationwide network of almost 2,000 towns and cities.
In addition to her work with the CLUE Group, Kennedy serves as adjunct faculty for the graduate program in historic preservation at Goucher College, where she teaches a class in historic preservation economics. She is a popular international speaker on community economic development and writes occasional columns for several professional journals. In 2002, Fast Company magazine named her to its inaugural list of “Fast 50 Champions of Innovation,” recognizing “creative thinkers whose sense of style and power of persuasion change what our world looks like and how our products perform.” She was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 2005. In 2009, Planetizen.com included her in its list of "100 Top Urban Thinkers".
We collaborate on assignments with some of the most skilled, experienced professionals involved in urban planning, community development, and commercial district revitalization. Our collaborators include developers, community vision specialists, environmental planners, urban planners, and transportation specialists. Some of our recent project partners include:
Crowdsourced Placemaking Group
Dover, Kohl & Partners
Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company
Gianni Longo & Associates
Heritage Consulting Inc.
Jair Lynch Development Partners
The Lakota Group
PROVOC Design and Technology
The Urban Agenda