This report brief provides examples of how UPMOs and placemakers are expanding their role in economic development and reclaiming public spaces for the people.
Sub Categories: Engagement
Advancing Equity While Building Thriving Downtowns
Given the opportunities and challenges cities face to engage the multiple communities comprising their populations, three downtown organizations will share proven strategies for inclusive placemaking that acknowledge and respect community dynamics, develop authentic partnerships, foster trust and engagement, and empower a range of voices in order to create equitable downtowns.
TGIFood Trucks was a summer pop-up of a rotating variety of food trucks and cuisines. Open to the public and free of charge, the goal was to encourage community connection and gathering in a safe outdoor space during the pandemic, and increase the area’s reputation for being fun and a foodie haven.
Black Joy Storywindows
In response to the devastating cultural and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Black Joy StoryWindows was an effort to create a safe, outdoor, walkable and driveable, multi-media storefront gallery experience in the heart of downtown Oakland and simultaneously keep alive, and in the community’s consciousness, the power and beauty of the Black Joy Parade, an annual parade that follows the same footprint as our StoryWindows project.
Neighborhood Now: Jackson Heights
Neighborhoods Now connects neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with leading design firms. Early in the pandemic, Jackson Heights became the pandemic’s USA epicenter threatening the livelihood of the families running micro-businesses in the community. Given its deep root in the community and knowledge of small business’s needs, the 82nd Street Partnership was tapped to become the local partner helping connect volunteer architects and designers with the most needed businesses.
Peacock Alley emerged as a location from an initiative led by Centro to gather feedback from the community to develop a placemaking action plan for the Houston Street corridor. The placemaking effort set out to provide novel play experiences while supporting local small businesses and artists.
Reclaiming Our Public Spaces, Post Pandemic
This session examines how cities are reclaiming public spaces after two years with little to no programming and activation. Learn from seasoned professionals’ experiences and creative approaches to breathing new life into the public realm as cities look to reengage with their residents and visitors and recover economically.
Advancing Places: Public Safety Roundtable
Public safety has always been at the forefront of the work of UPMOs. The reality and perception of crime in dense urban districts continue to impact the return of workers and vibrancy in the urban core. IDA is inventorying best practices and trends and will publish findings from this discussion and other data collection. Participants will be split into breakout rooms to maximize discussion time. Please note: the breakout rooms of this discussion were not recorded.
Radical Welcoming: Staffing Public Spaces for All
In the face of increases in economic segregation, social isolation and distrust across the U.S., downtown leaders in Akron and Memphis see public space as a solution. Learn how practitioners in these two cities are pioneering new ways to staff and operate networks of civic assets that are truly welcoming to people of all backgrounds and cultivate civic trust.
Placemaking Summit 2019 Opening Master Talk Presentations
Campus No. 805 is an award-winning adaptive re-use project that converted a former middle school campus into a mixed-use entertainment experience with multiple local breweries, restaurants, entertainment options and a public green space. Join us as we kick-off the inaugural Place Branding & Placemaking Summit with a multi-stop reception where attendees will get to experience why “school’s out forever” and full-time fun is the new curriculum at Campus No. 805.
Placemaking Summit 2019 Closing Master Talk Presentations
Closing Master Talk with Rob Robinson, Managing Principal, Urban Design Associates (Pittsburgh, PA), Anna Lowder, Co-Founder, Matter Design Co. (Montgomery, AL), Nick Lasater, Co-Owner & CEO, Rocket City Digital (Huntsville, AL), and Josh Yeager, Co-Founder, Bright Brothers Strategy Group (Philadelphia, PA).
Standout Place Branding
Change is constant in our line of work, and when change continually occurs in urban places and spaces, the stories that we tell about them must hold true. But how do you change the narrative of place and what does that entail? For urban place managers, branding a district / place conjures more questions than answers: how much will it cost? How many stakeholder groups do we need to involve and who? How long will it take? What are we actually branding? What is our brand? Will this even make a difference? In this panel, practitioners will detail the process of refreshing or enhancing a brand, including insights into the somewhat complicated and contentious process of deciding when to take action, how to set budgets, who to work with and how a brand refresh impacts more than just marketing collateral – it also affects the entire built environment and visitor experience.
Leasing a City Building to the BID as a Multi-Use Space
For the Bixby Knolls BIA, the EXPO building is their festival grounds, their office, and a resource they use for activations and community programming that draw people out of their neighborhoods and into the heart of the district.
Transforming Downtown Transit Streets
Great streets are the hallmark of successful cities. In cities that lack underground rail, surface street buses are the lifeblood of downtown mobility, and one or two streets can act as dedicated busways. In addition to carrying people to and through downtown, these transit streets are also important pedestrian corridors. Learn how Denver, Minneapolis, and Seattle are reinventing the way they do transit and manage their transit streets.
Activating Nicollet | A Street for All
|There were three challenges in the renovation of Nicollet Mall: capitalizing on the new space, engaging the community, and executing an activation plan. Now, downtown Minneapolis has a plan to attract inclusive, year-round events, amplify partner efforts, and fill in future programs.|
City of Arcades
FOR Cardiff has struggled to identify its USP and wanted to address this by using one of the city’s best assets to attract new and old visitors, the beautiful arcades. They utilized FC Ambassadors to gather feedback from businesses, researched other independent shopping campaigns, and identified a need to first win-back Cardiff shoppers who were already aware of the arcades and encourage new visitors and customers.
Tactical Public Realm Guidelines
|The Tactical Public Realm Guidelines came from the Public Realm Plan for Go Boston 2030. The guidelines cover policy and opportunities for enhancing the streets. A Better City and Utile worked with the City of Boston to develop guidelines for tactical activation. Utile created a document which also includes a guide for implementing outdoor elements. The new standards are aimed at making the process simpler and more transparent, in order to actively invite participation from neighborhood groups, businesses, and others.|
Coxe Avenue Complete Street Demonstration Project
The project was initiated to accelerate mobility improvements to a developing corridor in an Asheville neighborhood. Coxe Avenue formerly contained a high density of automotive uses but is now the site of mixed-use developments and dining options. The project involved a public engagement process, held on a compressed timeline. The design features a shared-use path and an intersection mural. The final installation includes eight new crosswalks, a multi-use path, and the 6,000 sq. ft. mural.
50th Annual Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts
This 3-day art festival takes place in the streets of Downtown a.k.a. the heart of Tempe. A .42-mile radius that spans from one of few Arizona reservoirs, Tempe Town Lake, to University Drive bordering the Arizona State University campus. One of our organization’s goal is to curate diverse and impactful experiences that cultivate community engagement, which is a major factor in why the Downtown Tempe BID produces the Tempe Festival of the Arts in-house.
Downtown London’s Free Comic Book Day
In 2015, Downtown London began to hear concerns about the amount of people lined up on the sidewalk and the limited space for people to safely participate in Free Comic Book Day. Many of the attendees are children, and most people dress up as characters from their favorite movie, book, or video game. For three successful years now, Downtown London closes Dundas Street and programs it each year with a street festival of comic artists, clubs and performers.
The Downtown Huntsville Tinsel Trail
Tinsel Trail is a free display of live Christmas trees in Downtown Huntsville’s Big Spring Park. Over 300 trees decorate Big Spring Park for the holiday season. Downtown Huntsville, Inc. purchases the trees and then sells them to local companies, community groups, and individuals who then decorate the trees to their own custom theme. The event is free to the public and open 24/7. Special activities such as family fun runs, musical performances and caroling occur throughout the event.
Downtown Durham Public Space Project
The Downtown Durham, Inc. Public Space Project is an activation project focused on retaining and supporting the creative and artistic cultures of Durham and upholding public spaces of convergence. The Public Space Project is a re-granting program that provides funding to individuals and organizations who bring temporary, creative, free of charge experiences to downtown Durham’s public spaces.
Natasha Moraga Master Talk
Transforming the dull gray spaces of Puerto Vallarta into open-air galleries, urban artist Natasha Moraga makes mosaic look easy. With over 10 years as the visionary and artistic director behind some of the city’s most iconic public artworks, she continues to inspire with her latest and biggest project yet – the transformation of her city’s main park, into a vibrant space filled with colored tiles and functional spaces, where community is an essential part of the project.
Dhyana Quintanar Solares Master Talk
Dhyana is the Authority of the Public Space of Mexico City. Before that, she was the Director of Transportation Planning and Roads in the Secretary of Transportation and Roads of Mexico City. She has been involved in various urban sustainable mobility projects working from the public and non-governmental sectors for over 10 years. She was Director of Strategic Projects at the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy in Mexico (ITDP) where she promoted pedestrian and bicycle mobility.
Kemi Ilesanmi Master Talk
Kemi Ilesanmi is the Executive Director of The Laundromat Project, which brings arts, artists, and arts programming into local coinops to amplify the creativity that already exists within communities. With over 15 years experience in the cultural arena, she is inspired by the immense possibilities for joy and social impact at the intersection of arts and community. Prior to joining The LP, she was Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation.
Stuart Mangrum Master Talk
A member of the Burning Man community since 1993, Stuart was one of the organization’s first year-round volunteers. In his current role he focuses on cultural development programs including public education, staff and volunteer training, and historical documentation. He is also deeply involved in the event’s creative direction, as co-author of the last three event themes and a collaborator in designing the Black Rock City experience.
Fred Kent Master Talk
Fred Kent is a leading authority on revitalizing city spaces and one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth and the future of the city. As founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, he is known throughout the world as a dynamic speaker and prolific ideas man. At the 61st Annual Conference and Tradeshow for the International Downtown Association, Fred Kent received the 2015 Dan E. Sweat, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in Downtown Leadership.
Vanessa German Master Talk
Vanessa German is a visual and performance artist based in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood, whose cast-off relics form the language of her copiously embellished sculptures. She is also the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of her historic Homewood neighborhood.
Neighborhood 360°: Planning for the Future of New York City Commercial Districts
In order to begin the deployment of what is now known as N360°, SBS developed a strategic public-private partnership with LISC NYC and Citi Community Development, aided by technical assistance from Larisa Ortiz Associates, to develop an assessment tool and analytical framework — a “Commercial District Needs Assessment” (CDNA) — that would help SBS to engage community partners in evaluating existing conditions and identifying needs of a commercial district.
DTLA IRL: A Pop Up Case Study
In December 2018, the Downtown Center BID launched DTLA // IRL a multi-faceted pop-up activation showcasing Downtown’s culture, community, and commerce. The project comprised three main elements: a visitor’s center, retail store, and event space, and served as a promotional vehicle for the Downtown retail market and a variety of local businesses, highlighting local art and culture, and engaging the local community of residents, workers, and visitors.
Improving Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness
The Golden Triangle BID, adjacent to the White House and in the heart of Washington’s central business district, has a unique understanding of the post 9-11 paradigm and has responded by creating a safety, security, and emergency preparedness program that is rapidly becoming a national model. The foundational strategy of the Golden Triangle’s program is to engage regularly with building management and the community about security and preparedness.
Trash Talks: Approaches for a Waste-Free Public Realm
The cleanliness of a neighborhood’s streets and sidewalks is one of the most visible metrics by which urban place management organizations are evaluated. BIDs get firsthand experience with the impacts of too much trash on budgets, pedestrian activity, and business retention. Practitioners will share learnings on moving towards a sustainable and waste-free public realm by partnering with property owners and businesses and implementing innovative solutions.
Community Policing and Partnerships: A Canadian Perspective
Urban center organizations are increasingly impacted by social street issues and while they cannot solve such complex social problems, it is vital that BIAs/BRZs/BIDs are involved in the discussions. Forming partnerships with the municipalities, local police, community and social organizations is the foundation to educate and foster understanding around such issues, and to begin to develop strategies and solutions for issues like homelessness and safety.