Plazas and Open Space

Moore Square Improvements

The four-acre downtown urban green space was originally conceived as one of five public green spaces for the City of Raleigh. In recent years, frequent large-scale events and daily use have taken their toll on the park’s vegetation, soils, and paving. This pressure, combined with the planned development in the surrounding neighborhood, prompted the city to renovate Moore Square to meet the changing needs of its users.

Evergy Plaza

In 2014 community leaders were presented with a consultant’s findings on how to recharge downtown Topeka, and the primary recommendation was to build a community space to gather and create civic pride. With the Downtown Topeka Foundation leading the project, millions of dollars in public and private funding were pooled to make it a reality.

Lawrenceburg Civic Park

Celebrated as a regional destination and center for the community, the new Lawrenceburg Civic Park dramatically re-presents the once fragmented vehicular landscape into a unified series of settings for people, nature, and programming. What was once 1.5 acres of paved parking lots is now a public space that fills a critical need in the city’s existing public open space and provides a regional destination as an outdoor entertainment venue.

Advancing Places: Public Space

This practical and tactical session will address the opportunities and challenges downtowns and commercial districts have in repositioning our public spaces in the post-COVID-19 world. The panelists will address flexible design strategies, safe and healthy operations and working with businesses, public agencies and partners to creatively address new uses and demands for our sidewalks, streets and open spaces.

Bold Downtown: Public Realm Visioning for 21st Century Business Districts

This session explores opportunities for BIDs to lead public and private stakeholders in developing a vision framework and capital plan to unlock the public realm for a more livable, competitive and dynamic downtown. Panelists will share tactical and permanent strategies to improve pedestrian safety; promote subway and bus use; create greener and more sustainable streets; and celebrate the district’s identity.

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.

Civic Center Initiative

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.

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.

Championing Iconic Downtown Infrastructure

Explore how BIDs and community organizations are initiating and advancing the next generation of imaginative park and transportation infrastructure projects that breakdown barriers and enhance mobility, create place, enhance livability and spur economic development for downtown. Featured projects include the Crystal City to Washington National Airport (CC2DCA) Intermodal Pedestrian Connection in Arlington, VA; Rail Park and Dilworth Park in Philadelphia; and the 11th Street Bridge Park in DC.

SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan and Sub-Area Planning

The SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan is multi-layered and sequentially moves from big-picture vision through implementation. The plan includes 13 regional centers, as well as plans for community areas. Downtown is one of five regional centers being planned in the first phase. Those first set of plans will be completed and adopted by summer 2019 and the second phase commenced in January of this year.

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.

Dupont Circle BID Brand Launch & Implementation

The Dupont Circle BID catalyzed renewal of the area’s public infrastructure through $25 million in streetscape upgrades and an innovative plaza deck over an avenue dividing the retail core. Flowing from Dupont Circle, it will be an exciting, programmable gathering space for the entire city. Its marketing roll-out includes a content-rich website, social media platforms, colorful street light banners, monthly newsletters, transit advertising, a neighborhood guide, and materials for retail brokers.

Argyle & Grafton Streetscape Project

In 2015, Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) launched a successful community-based shared street pilot project. The goal was to create a flexible, three block plaza-like environment that prioritizes pedestrians over cars. The final design, done by Ekistics, a local design firm, was curbless to slow traffic, removed on-street parking in favour of pedestrian space, and fostered social interactions through public amenities and art. The use of tactile strips was especially helpful to service animals and those with visual impairments. The Argyle & Grafton Shared Streetscape project was launched in November 2017 with a “Share the Street” party, a full day of family fun with games, six live musical acts, on-street performances, two beer gardens and a showcase for businesses in the area. The integrated approach used in designing this most public of spaces means that Argyle and Grafton Streets will continue to contribute to the urban life of Halifax as a healthy and complete downtown neighbourhood and will continue to revitalize the entertainment district of Downtown Halifax.

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.

John Bela Master Talk

John Bela is an urbanist and public space designer with Gehl Studio San Francisco. He combines a background in art, science and environmental design to create vibrant, dynamic and resilient urban human habitats. A pioneer in user-generated urbanism, John has successfully completed many projects that involve radical new formulations of social space. John is a senior lecturer at the California College of Arts in San Francisco and a distinguished lecturer at U.C. Berkeley.

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.

Biscayne Green – A Public Space Intervention Showcasing a Reimagined Biscayne Boulevard

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.