Isaac Kremer has written articles that have appeared in numerous national publications. His research interests are diverse and include historic preservation, planning, placemaking, architectural history, and community development.

Published Writing

Transformation Strategies Yield Results for Downtown Metuchen, New Jersey Transit-Friendly Development Newsletter (July 22, 2019)

Transforming a Neglected Parking Lot in Metuchen, New Jersey, Main Spotlight, The National Main Street Center (December 5, 2017)

Creative Placemaking to Transform a Park in Milwaukee, Main Street Story of the Week, The National Main Street Center (May 6, 2016)
This is the story of how a National Endowment for the Arts gathering in DC inspired the leaders of a small town in Appalachia to connect with those in Milwaukee to transform a neglected park.

How Tactical Urbanism Can Help Build a #BetterMainStreet, Main Street Story of the Week, The National Main Street Center (August 7, 2014 and August 28, 2014)
As Main Street practitioners have known for some time, in adversity and challenge is opportunity. Government at all levels has no money? No problem. Developers can’t get financing for that next big project downtown? No worries. A do-it-yourself movement has emerged to make changes to places on a shoestring budget. Known as “tactical urbanism,” this incremental approach calls for low cost short-term interventions that transform places for the better within a very short timeframe, while planting the seeds for long-term change. Learn how your Main Street can utilize this unique approach in this week’s feature article by Guest Contributor, Isaac Kremer, Executive Director of Downtown Middlesboro.

Why This Work Matters: Wisdom from the People Who Are Making Communities Better, Wise Fool Press (March 31, 2014)
Why This Work Matters introduces you to the voices of 11 people who are doing the hard work of making communities better. They work in local and state and federal organizations, in governments and nonprofits, in planning, economic development, city management, downtown revitalization and more. In their own words, as clearly and honestly as they can put in writing, you’ll hear how they manage the frustrations of this work — how they deal with political realities, with shortcomings, with bureaucracy and discouragement. And, maybe more importantly, you’ll hear what they draw on to summon the courage and the bravery to keep at it.

How to Transform Your Downtown in 48 Hours, Main Street Now, The Journal of The National Trust Main Street Center (January 30, 2014)
The idea is simple. Get a bunch of volunteers to carry out low-cost interventions that plant the seeds for long-term change. What better response to shrinking budgets, tight capital markets, and declining civic participation? Get citizens involved in the act revitalizing their town.


48 Hours, 48 Months, 48 Years: A Planning Innovation, Main Street Now, The Journal of The National Trust Main Street Center (September 1, 2011)
Through an innovative planning initiative called the 48x48x48 Project, Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York, incorporated “pop-up concepts and public participation to show people the difference two days can make in the downtown. Short-term actions immediately changed the way people viewed one of the most neglected areas in the downtown. After 48 hours of change, Oyster Bay saw the beginning of new building improvements and new businesses. Plans for the next 48 weeks and 48 years have been put forward so the change will keep on going.

Integrating historic preservation and community development for renewal in areas of concentrated poverty : a case study of the Ransom Place Historic District in Indianapolis, Indiana. Thesis (M.A.)–Cornell University. (May 6, 2005)
This neighborhood and case study is utilized as a theory-building exercise to draw some conclusions on how to infuse community development activities with a historic preservation consciousness, and to use an awareness of local history and culture (or what I call a preservation consciousness) as a tool for renewal – especially in severely distressed areas and in conditions of concentrated poverty.

Cited In

In addition to our writing, we’ve been cited as a source in the following publications.

Meeks, Stephanie and Kevin C. Murphy. The Past and Future City: How Historic Preservation is Reviving America’s CommunitiesIsland Press, October 2016.

Lydon, Mike and Anthony Garcia. Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action for Long-Term Change.  Island Press, March 2015.

Friedman, Donald. Structure in Skyscrapers: History and Preservation. Unpublished manuscript, 2014.