Despite a 2016 bankruptcy, political instability, and widespread stakeholder skepticism, the Opa-locka Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) launched a 2020 Downtown Master Plan to reverse downtown’s decline. The plan started to overcome past failures by creating public/private partnerships (P3).
Downtown Master Plan
The Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri (DTC) had just begun a strategic planning process when COVID-19 brought things to a standstill. The events of 2020, including economic uncertainty and the elevated recognition of racial and social inequities, allowed the DTC and its partners to ask critical questions: how can we fully engage the community, and how do we ensure that the strategic plan ensures that downtown’s opportunities provide meaningful and tangible benefits for everyone?
Located in the core of downtown, Lake Eola Park serves as centerpiece for downtown and for Orlando. The Community Redevelopment Agency worked to master plan this valuable asset, re-envisioning it for the next 50 years. The process leading to the final master plan considered the place of the park in the context of the downtown, city, and region, along with a thorough analysis its surroundings, and an evaluation of how Lake Eola Park compares to other iconic parks throughout the country.
The confluence of a rich architectural legacy; vibrant downtown communities; and the advent of unparalleled change unlocked an unprecedented opportunity for downtown to again lead its region toward a more economically competitive, equitable, livable, and resilient future.
Over the past decade, Memphis has begun a renaissance, leaning into tech, medical device/innovation, and agribusiness – industries fueled by the entrepreneurial spirit that locally-grown giants FedEx, AutoZone, and St Jude pour into our community. BUILDDOWNTOWN focuses on creating the kind of environment that is attractive to the demographic fueling most knowledge-economy jobs. It seeks to transform Downtown into a robust regional engine of economic opportunity, equity, and culture.
The Downtown Toledo Master Plan was undertaken as a collaborative and inclusive process, assembled by a broad coalition of public and private sector leaders desiring to improve a struggling downtown. The public was encouraged to participate in three public meetings, submit ideas online and visit several pop-up community input locations, resulting in more than 1,000 ideas and comments. The plan created a community-driven vision for future growth that has led to the dramatic revitalization of downtown Toledo.
We often inherit a complicated relationship with the neighborhoods adjacent to the traditional downtown core. Those adjacent neighborhoods are sometimes very different in history and composition – the buildings are likely older, the land is less developed, and the community less affluent. The neighborhoods may be separated from downtown by historic and political barriers, including racist and exclusionary policies and years of broken economic development promises.
Whether your district has experienced significant growth or is in need of revitalization, a downtown master plan is an important tool in charting a path for intentional development that aligns with community goals. Join us as this experienced panel of urban planning and place management professionals explore the basics of master plans and get actionable insights your team can apply today.
Project Downtown, the master plan for Wichita, is a 15-year community vision and blueprint for development. The plan was founded on market economics with industry experts providing sound economic forecast information for development. The second project in this presentation is the Open on Main pop-up retail initiative which seeks to increase activity on Main Street, encourage more permanent tenants in the downtown core, and allow shop owners to test retail concepts and strategies.
Jennifer Vey’s work at the Brookings Institution primarily focuses on the connection between placemaking and inclusive economic development in the digital economy. She is the author or co-author of numerous Brookings publications, including Transformative Placemaking: A framework to create connected, vibrant, and inclusive communities and Assessing your Innovation District: A how-to guide.
The Master Plan for Wichita is a 15-year community vision and blueprint for development in downtown Wichita, KS. The plan was adopted in December 2010 and has served as the community’s north arrow since then. The plan was founded on market economics with industry experts providing sound economic forecast information for commercial and residential development. Since then, the market potential in each of the real estate sectors has been frequently updated for accuracy.
Albus Brooks is the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Milender White, a development and construction firm operating in Southern California and Colorado. Serving two terms on Denver City Council, including two terms as Council President, Albus accomplished an ambitious range of progressive legislative victories with the goal of building a truly inclusive city.
Tyler Norris, MDiv, is an entrepreneur and founder of over a dozen businesses and social ventures. His three decades of service in the public, private and non-profit sectors have focused on population health, community vitality, and equitable prosperity. Currently, he serves as vice president, Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente, where he helps lead the implementation of “anchor institution” work.
Gabriel Metcalf is the President & CEO of SPUR. Under his leadership, SPUR has grown dramatically in influence and membership. Before becoming head of SPUR 2005, Gabe headed up SPUR’s policy and advocacy work for five years. A prolific writer and speaker, Gabriel earned his Master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.
The 2025 Downtown Miami Master Plan includes a goal to permanently transform Biscayne Boulevard into an urban boulevard that features a pedestrian promenade, emphasizes transit, and provides bicycle infrastructure. An objective of the Biscayne Green Temporary Intervention was to bring awareness of the barrier effect Biscayne Boulevard represents and to showcase how these spaces can be turned around into a local destination for green space, entertainment, and community.
In partnership with the City of Dallas, Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) developed The 360 Plan, a five-year comprehensive and strategic plan for a clear, cohesive vision for downtown’s future. To achieve this vision, Downtown Dallas 360 set forth specific, implementable actions that support Downtown’s long-term vibrancy and success, including transit, streets, public spaces, urban design, housing, and parking.
In 2007, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance commissioned the first Vision Cedar Rapids Downtown Framework Plan to mold a clear, unified vision for downtown, which directly informed the planning efforts in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 flood event. With the framework for flood recovery in place, the plan was updated in 2017 to launch to an even bigger and broader plan for the future.
The Northeast False Creek Plan is an innovative and comprehensive plan to replace the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts (2.6 km of elevated freeway infrastructure) with a new mixed-use waterfront community. As a result of intensive collaboration between the landowners, senior levels of government and the community over an 18-month planning process, a 20-year plan for the buildout of Northeast False Creek was adopted by Vancouver City Council on February 13, 2018.
Among the fastest-growing urban districts in the US, Charlotte’s Historic South End neighborhood has experienced rapid revival and reinvention. With room still to grow, we created a vision plan that will guide billions of dollars in new public and private investment throughout the business improvement district. Following mixed reactions to redevelopment, it became clear that action was needed to ensure that future growth would preserve the South End’s historic charm and its authenticity.
The small city of Oswego parlayed a $10 million state grant into more than $50 million in new downtown investment. Even after years of decline, Oswego retains some important assets to build on: walkable scale, historic buildings, and a beautiful setting on the Oswego River. The city won state funding to create a plan that identified specific projects, explained how they would benefit downtown, and showed that they could attract other money.