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. Her work focuses particular attention on cultivating locally owned businesses, creating dynamic retail development strategies, 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 co-founding the CLUE Group in 2004, 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 Center's director. During her tenure as director of the national Main Street program, the Main Street program was recognized as 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.
Kennedy's work has been featured in news media ranging from the New York Times, Business Week, and Governing to "CBS Sunday Morning" and Public Radio International's "Marketplace." She has written numerous articles on the economics of traditional business districts and is a popular international speaker on downtown and community economic development issues. Kennedy has been honored by Planetizen as one of the "100 Most Influential Urbanists of All Time" (2017) and one of the "100 Top Urban Thinkers" (2009). Fast Company magazine named her to its first 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." In May 2004 the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized her achievements with its President's Award, for her "leadership and vision ... in creating one of the most admired and successful preservation programs in the country."
Kennedy received her B.A. in the Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College, then attended graduate school at the University of Virginia's School of Architecture. She was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design from 2005-2006. In addition to her work with the CLUE Group, Kennedy also teaches a class in historic preservation economics for Goucher College's graduate program in historic preservation.
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:
Agency Landscape + Planning
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