Land Use

BuildDowntown Master Plan

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.

Mall Retrofit Strategy: Unlocking Downtown Moorhead’s Revitalization

From the beginning of the Downtown Moorhead Master Plan process, the number one topic of concern was Center Mall in the heart of downtown Moorhead. With its complicated public-private ownership structure, high number of vacancies, physical connection with City Hall, and yet beloved history, we knew repositioning or redeveloping the Center Mall site would be a focal point of the planning effort.

Advancing Places: Zoning Therapy

Creating change in your community can take shape in many forms. We’ll discuss the role of the downtown plan and strategy in counseling communities through change and improvement and how to work through challenges and issues, local politics and differing opinions. Learn about two communities’ approaches to updating their plans, using zoning as the primary tool for implementing a downtown plan.

Advancing Places: Reimagining Downtown Commons

Streets, parking spaces and sidewalks comprise the largest area among types of public space in downtowns across the world. Pre-pandemic, managing parking for delivery bikes and procuring permits for outdoor cafés was challenging. However, reduced traffic presented opportunities to take advantage of these resources in new ways. Join this discussion of management models, programs, and regulatory frameworks that have shifted the use of our public assets to small businesses that need it most.

Advancing Places: Zoning for Downtown Vitality

With the shrinking demand for brick-and-mortar spaces, we as downtown and neighborhood district leaders need to understand the basics of the zoning and permitting process to help attract businesses. Whether you are new to business attraction or a seasoned practitioner, this session will be led by two experts who will share the basics of planning and zoning while also addressing some of the issues communities are facing.

Advancing Places: Downtown Master Planning

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.

Carol Coletta Master Talk

Carol Coletta leads the relaunch of Memphis River Parks Partnership, a nonprofit developing, managing and programming six miles of riverfront and five park districts. Previously, she led the two-year start-up of ArtPlace, a unique public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the U.S. and was President & CEO of CEOs for Cities for seven years.

Jennifer Vey Master Talk

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.

Bruce Katz Master Talk

Bruce Katz is the Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Previously he served as inaugural Centennial Scholar at Brookings Institution and as VP and director of Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program for 20 years. He is a Visiting Professor in Practice at London School of Economics, and previously served as chief of staff to the secretary of Housing and Urban Development and staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs.

A New Future for I-35: Urban Land Institute Panel

The project, undertaken by the Downtown Austin Alliance, builds on the Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to reconstruct Interstate 35 through the downtown core. I-35 is an immense highway with a deep, complicated history; a structural barrier that has caused division in our community for decades. Our project aims to enhance TxDOT investment, making the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity by creating a shared community vision that will improve quality of life.

Innovative Approaches to Commercial Tenant Attraction and Engagement

There has been a gradual expansion of a BID’s role to influence the commercial vitality of their communities. BIDs can ill afford to sit on the sidelines and watch market forces shape its area of management and must be active change agents to ensure a desired business mix, optimal occupancy levels, and that the district is a reliable investment opportunity. Learn from three BIDs engaging different techniques and partnerships to actively recruit and attract new commercial businesses.

Tackling Parking and Transportation

Preparing for an uncertain parking and transportation future. Panelists dive deep into how downtowns and college campuses are working together to address parking challenges. Case study examples include North Carolina State University, University of Alabama Birmingham, and Arizona State University, and how to start thinking about planning for shared autonomous vehicles.

Building the Value Proposition of Urban Park Management

Learn from leading experts in urban park management and improvement projects across the United States. The session will help build your value proposition for enhancing and investing in high-quality public spaces and green space, and in turn building value for the property surrounding your urban parks.

The Challenges of Unlocking Neighborhood Potential Through Planning Policy

City planning tools like zoning and comprehensive planning are powerful forces that can help unleash the potential of neighborhoods, but the process of updating them can be a lengthy and a deeply political endeavor. Hear two case studies of planning policies being modernized to better reflect the current and future needs of neighborhoods.

Flipping the Script: Using Housing as an Economic Development Tool

For decades, downtowns were built on the premise that office recruitment and expansion was the foundational element for long term success. Our panel believes that housing is now playing an outsized role in surging downtown success and that the attraction of housing is a necessary precursor to bring jobs back from the suburbs. Panelists will explore this idea with real-world market data and case studies from Charlotte, Denver, and elsewhere.

Downtown Hays Pavilion

Through a partnership with the City of Hays, two academic institutions, and Commercial Builders; DHDC was able to design, fund, and build a beautiful structure for their community. The Downtown Hays Pavilion transformed a vacant lot into a place for people to enjoy downtown. Activating this unused space expands an existing park into a versatile public-use facility. The Pavilion serves as the center of downtown, bringing community groups, local businesses, and residents together.

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.

CC2DCA Pedestrian Connection Feasibility Study

The Crystal City BID saw an opportunity to further leverage the DCA airport’s proximity to their downtown by bringing it a few steps closer. A new pedestrian connection could harness the multitude of transportation assets in Crystal City, seamlessly link them into a multimodal hub, and position the neighborhood to attract additional rail services such as Amtrak, regional commuter rail, and even a future high-speed rail station.

Commonwealth Canal Promenade

The Commonwealth Canal Promenade was a key revitalization component to Chandler’s long-term redevelopment plan. The project included clearing oleanders and palm roots, re-establishing the flow line and concrete lining, and constructing a canal promenade. Other improvements included an art fence, railings with historic information panels, a courtyard, landscaping, lighting, drainage and roadway reconstruction. Collaboration with all involved parties ensured the project’s successful completion.

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.

Kate Joncas Master Talk – Baltimore 2019

Kate is currently the Director of Urban Strategy and Development for MIG. She leads strategic efforts for complex urban projects in downtowns, neighborhoods and urbanizing places. As Seattle Deputy Mayor from 2014 – 2017 she directed 32 departments, led waterfront redevelopment and Convention Center expansion, and developed a nationally recognized government performance initiative.

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.

Gabe Metcalf Master Talk

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.

Ellen Dunham Jones Master Talk

Ellen Dunham-Jones is a professor of architecture and urban design at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she coordinates the MS/Urban Design degree. An authority on sustainable suburban redevelopment, she is co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia; Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs (Wiley: 2009, 2011, 2013). The award-winning book’s documentation of successful retrofits of aging suburban property types into healthier, more sustainable places has received significant attention.

Paul Jordan Master Talk

Paul Jordan is the CEO of The Forks North Portage Partnership in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Having a passion for the continued development of Winnipeg, Paul has been active in the creation of waterfront access projects, which have led to multiple initiatives within the city. He was instrumental in the creation and implementation of Target Zero, The Forks’ environmental vision to reach zero carbon emissions.

Simon O’Byrne Master Talk

Simon O’Byrne is an award-winning urban designer/planner with Stantec’s Urban Places who has been frequently quoted in European and North America media and spoken at many international conferences. Simon has led multi-disciplinary design teams in the planning and delivery of complex and politically charged projects. His experience ranges from intensive urban revitalization redevelopments, to the Ice District in Edmonton, to creating resiliency in Hull, UK, to the Alberta Legislature Grounds.

Finding Solutions to Parking & Access Challenges in Commercial Districts

Parking and access challenges rank as top concerns for BID stakeholders. Many districts lack parking, and also the ability to manage the inventory they do have. Plus, parking requirements can hamper development and leasing. This session will explore strategies to improve the parking experience by engaging with public and private entities. Learn about parking requirements and how different communities are amending them.

The High Cost of Parking Requirements

Donald Shoup, Research Professor at the Department of Urban Planning, University of California, LA, lays out the reasons why cities around the US and abroad are freeing themselves from minimum parking requirements in their urban places. Benefits include; promoting the creation of downtown apartments, meeting the needs of small businesses, prevent auto-oriented townhouses, increase walkability, and more!

The Garage at Clinton Row Adaptive Re-Use Project

The Garage at Clinton Row project retrofitted a 30+ year-old municipal park deck that, while structurally sound, negatively impacted the pedestrian experience and retail traffic along a key downtown corridor. This project is a blueprint for re-activating first floor parking garages with mixed-use and transforming upper levels and the surrounding areas with creative place-making projects like decorative lighting, bikeshare, and event programming.

It’s A Parking Lot Problem

Parking lots had taken over the landscape of downtown Mobile, AL. One of the top five complaints the Downtown Mobile Alliance heard referenced was the “conditions of the [privately owned] parking lots.” In 2012, the Downtown Mobile Alliance hired DPZ to develop a form-based code for downtown. This would provide architectural guidance for building in the areas of downtown that were not within a historic district.

Garment District Urban Garden on Broadway

The Garment District Alliance, a business improvement district in midtown Manhattan, transformed Broadway into the Garment District Urban Garden. In partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation, this seasonal placemaking program was built around closing two blocks on Broadway from 36th to 37th Streets and 39th to 40th Streets for twelve weeks. The increased public space featured an array of amenities and activities for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

Downtown Topeka Public Space

The Kansas Avenue Project is a collaborative effort to address infrastructure replacement and topside enhancements responsive to improving the quality of place and encourage reinvestment and business activity in downtown Topeka. Public and private partnership raised $3.8 millon toward the creation of pocket parks, pavilions, fountains, arches, medallions, statues and state symbols that add to the beauty and appeal of downtown Topeka.

Elkhart River District Implementation Plan

The City of Elkhart has begun building a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood on 105 acres of underutilized land next to its downtown. Civic leaders believe the River District can ease a housing shortage, address a worker shortage, and attract knowledge workers and entrepreneurs who will diversify its economy. The 2017 district master plan called for as much as 1,000 units of housing; stores; bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets; an aquatics/fitness/healthcare center; and a network of open spaces.

The Square on 21st Street

Downtown Denver has long recognized the lack of park space in the Ballpark and Arapahoe Square districts of downtown. As the residential population of Downtown continues to rise so is the demand on the little existing open space. This pop-up park asked the question, “What if we repurposed and rethought our shared public realm in a way that provides new quality outdoor green space growing downtown for our residents to play outdoors?”

Northeast False Creek Plan

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.

South End Vision Plan

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.

Top Issues Council: Attracting Commercial Development

Attracting commercial development to an urban core relies on a multitude of factors to be successful. Some of the issues that need to work in tandem to create a platform for attracting commercial development include: a vibrant downtown, a user-friendly permitting process, available capital and land, infrastructure and ongoing management and maintenance. This report provides an overarching view of the evolution of urban retail throughout the past fifty years to the present.

Downtown Boise Associaton Advisory Panel: Strategic Visioning and Balanced Development

IDA’s Advisory Panels are a time-tested way to explore new ideas, solve difficult problems, and rally the board, staff and community around priority projects or topics. This panel focused on tailoring an updated mission and vision for the downtown place management organization and provided recommendations on how to approach development moving forward. The report details the panel’s findings and recommendations.

Innovation Districts 2.0: Lessons Learned from Early Adopters and Future Action

Dozens of cities have designated specific neighborhoods as “innovation districts.” These districts have three essential components: anchor institutions, entrepreneurs and amenities. While some pieces of a district may emerge organically, activating a district to benefit the entire city requires purposeful action and leadership.