Knowledge Center

Planning, Design and Infrastructure

The urban place manager emphasizes efforts on the built environment because of the significant impacts they have on the quality of life and one’s authentic experience of a place. Every place is different; therefore, place management strategies should respond to a myriad of place-based identifiers including, the place’s specific scale, status, culture, climate, community vision, goals, and mission, keeping at the forefront considerations of sustainability and resilience.

Through numerous approaches, such as land and real estate development, zoning and land-use, streetscape improvements, transit-oriented development, multi-modal connections, sustainable infrastructure, attainable housing initiatives and historic preservation among others, place managers enhance the quality of life for all stakeholders of a place.

Sha’p Left Community Primary Health Care Hub

September 28, 2020 Award

A containerized community clinic providing accessible, affordable primary health care to commuters in a busy, inner-city downtown area. In South Africa, only 17 in 100 people have access to quality private health care. This leaves around 45 million people relying on the public health system. Most of this group are low-income earners, living in high-density growing urban areas, who cannot afford to pay high prices for health care.

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Transit as a Solution for Downtown Parking, Office Leasing and Employee Turnover

September 28, 2020 Award

An innovative program in downtown Columbus, Ohio has stimulated commercial leasing, reduced employee turnover, doubled the use of transit among the pool of eligible employees, and prevented the emission of more than 6.8 million pounds of CO2 per year. Launched and funded by downtown property owners, Downtown C-pass allows eligible companies to offer free, unlimited transit to their employees.

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Central Green: Connecting Community with Commerce & Culture

September 28, 2020 Award

Over several years, the Baton Rouge Downtown Development District has worked to connect numerous civic and cultural institutions downtown through a unified system of greenspaces known collectively as the Central Green.  In total, the Central Green boasts over 11 acres of accessible, contiguous public greenspace in the heart of downtown.  The Central Green is now host to events ranging from large concert series attracting thousands of attendees to small informal gatherings.

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Writing on the Walls

September 28, 2020 Award

Writing on the Walls is an annual series of collaborative public art installations and events. At the inaugural event in March 2020, local, national and international artists simultaneously created two new landmarks in downtown Austin, including our city’s largest mural to date. This mural is located on the iconic Congress Avenue, 11 blocks south of the state capitol, and located at the gateway into downtown Austin.

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Civic Center Initiative

September 28, 2020 Best Practice

The three connected public plazas in front of San Francisco’s City Hall (Civic Center Plaza, Fulton Street Mall and UN Plaza) were blighted, crime-ridden and well known as a place to avoid. Through a significant private donation two new state-of-the art playgrounds and an adjacent café were constructed in Civic Center Plaza. These new amenities were the catalyst for creating surrounding programming that supported the success of the playgrounds and laid the groundwork upgrades to come.

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From Pilot to Pandemic: The [Fortuitous] Benefits of Understanding Your District’s Curb Usage

September 28, 2020 Best Practice

Downtown Santa Monica undertook a project to map our curb network to help us better understand the status quo and search for opportunities to adapt curb use for current needs in COVID. The resulting intelligence has been used to directly inform policy recommendations and facilitate conversations with stakeholders, beginning with a pilot to convert restaurant-adjacent metered parking into short-term loading zones during peak hours.

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The Rail Park: A Railroad and Neighborhood Story Wall

September 28, 2020 Case Study

The Rail Park is an adaptive reuse of the Reading Viaduct, once used by the Reading and Pennsylvania Railroads, and a hub for hundreds of rail lines. At the entrance to the park is an 80-foot long “ghost map” wall that provides a dramatic visual reminder of what this industrial neighborhood once was, and the fascinating stories and significant architecture that merited its placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Top Issues Council: Housing Attainability – How UPMOs Can Support A Diversity of Housing in Their Districts

September 24, 2020 Publication

Every community needs housing options that meet a diversity of incomes and lifestyles. The Housing Attainability Top Issues Council report demonstrates how urban place management organizations of all sizes and resource levels can play a role in encouraging more housing at a variety of price points and of varying styles.

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The Changing Face of Economic Development: Land Use, Sustainability, and Housing

May 21, 2020 Presentation

Millennial demographics, internet-fueled lifestyles, and a sharing economy (rides, workplace) alter land use and tax generation priorities for cities. Retail is no longer just about retail, with “place,” authenticity, and “trips,” becoming the defining components of a successful town center. Concurrently, the state is driving cities to change land use processes based on climate control and affordable housing mandates, while providing development incentives through new incentives and

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Growth Without Gridlock: Making the Case For Mobility Investments

May 21, 2020 Presentation

Downtowns are transforming into more people-centered places by actively prioritizing transit, biking, and walking: the key to moving more people in the same street space. Not only does this require a different approach to planning and street design, but also requires a paradigm shift in thinking. In previously auto-centric cities, changing the status quo takes significant political will and intentional effort. In this session, hear cities’ strategies for making the case for sustainable

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