Transformational Projects

Outdoor Dining – Where Do We Go from Here?

Dining moved onto our sidewalks and streets during the pandemic, but will it become a permanent part of our cities? Experienced practitioners will discuss the costs, benefits and considerations of making “streeteries” permanent to help attendees successfully guide local discussions on whether to keep, modify or close outdoor dining establishments. 

Authentic Experiences in the Age of the Metaverse

How do we make places relevant in the age of going virtual? This presentation discusses separate technological folly from authentic experience design to help business districts prepare for the true placemaking success in the age of meta.

Mayor Sandra Masters Master Talk

Sandra Masters was sworn in as Regina’s 35th Mayor on November 23, 2020. She made Regina’s history by becoming the first woman elected and defeating a two-time incumbent Mayor during a global pandemic.

From Edge to Innovation Center: Paving the Way to Smart City

Linking innovation and technology to place has emerged as a compelling strategy for district growth and economic development. This panel provides a retrospective from secondary markets on the rise that are fast transforming into cutting-edge innovation districts. Panelists will discuss the role that transportation, catalytic tenants, educational anchors, technology and real estate play in the creation of a smart city.

Jeff Vinik Master Talk

The Lightning’s success under Vinik has coincided with the emergence of a development company, Strategic Property Partners (SPP), LLC and its plan to develop approximately 60 acres in downtown Tampa’s south core into a new district entitled ‘Water Street Tampa.’ Vinik is expecting to deliver approximately $3 billion in investment to bring Water Street Tampa to life and reinvent the blocks surrounding AMALIE Arena into a walkable, 24-7 live, work, play and stay wellness district.

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.

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.

Project Spotlight: Activating Retail and Real Estate in Your Community

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.

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.

Central Green: Connecting Community with Commerce & Culture

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.

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.

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.

Preserving Culture and Community in Changing Urban Places

Gentrification and displacement of residents and businesses is a key issue facing communities as they grow and change, particularly for immigrants, refugees and communities of color. Learn from policymakers with urban district experience how place managers can partner to help preserve the essence of place, culture, and community – utilizing strategies like workforce investment, community wealth building, equitable development, business estate planning, nonprofit capacity building and more

Engaging the Edges: Working Across District Boundaries

Our experience of a downtown doesn’t follow the clean boundaries of a BID or other district, and yet our charge as place managers is often defined by these hard edges. How can downtowns engage with adjacent neighborhoods to create more successful, thriving districts? Drawing upon lessons from three cities, participants will leave with a toolkit of strategies for anticipating common issues and seizing opportunities for working beyond their boundaries.

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.

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.

Completion of the Boynton Harbor Marina Redevelopment Project

January 2017 marked the completion of the Marina Open Space Project, one of three redevelopment phases of the Marina Redevelopment Plan. The marina was purchased by the Boynton Beach CRA to maintain the “working waterfront” and ensure public access. The marina has nineteen, water-activity related businesses and three waterfront restaurants. The operation of the marina and the creation of much needed public waterfront areas is consistent with the mission of the Boynton Beach CRA and the Boynton Beach Downtown Vision & Master Plan.

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.

San Pedro Squared

The San Pedro Squared project converted 12 parking spaces in a nearly block-long city-owned garage and five on-street parking spots into four micro-retail shops and the city’s longest parklet. The four shops, collectively called MOMENT, changed the streetscape and feel of the block. The shops and parklet provide unique and aesthetically interesting improvements to the garage facade, with wooden awnings, bright furniture, sidewalk painting, murals and lush plantings that soften the building.

Passageways 2.0

Passageways 2.0 transforms a 6,200 square foot alleyway in the core of Downtown Chattanooga. City Thread, a series of simple steel tubes, creates a space that extends our attitude of adventure. By its geometry, the project possesses many potential settings including lounging, mini-stages, framing for art, concerts, markets, movie screenings, and more. The design is intended to allow casual users and those in charge of programming to discover different ways to utilize the alley.

555 Monroe North Park

The City of Grand Rapids received a grant to purchase a riverfront surface parking lot and sought out Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.’s assistance with moving quickly to animate the space. Through the help of our citizen lead Alliance, the Business Association, local non-profits, 30+ volunteers and 40+ artists, we were able to activate the space with a quicker, cheaper approach using repurposed materials to create a new unique public space in our downtown that could be used year-round.

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.

Bonaventure Projet: From Expressway to Promenade

More than one-half mile of elevated expressway was demolished in the heart of downtown Montréal to make way for a new ground-level urban boulevard and over six acres of continuous public space. For more than 50 years, the elevated Bonaventure Expressway cut across the city centre. This major thoroughfare was the main gateway to downtown Montréal from the Champlain Bridge crossing the mighty St. Lawrence River. It accommodated more than 27,000 vehicles per day, including 1,900 buses. Rather than extending the service life of this structure, built in 1966, the city opted for a large-scale redevelopment, the first of its kind in Canada. It created an elegant, functional and people-oriented gateway to downtown Montréal, meshing together districts that were isolated by the elevated expressway, and supporting private mixed-use development in the area. This bold initiative is the core of the Bonaventure Projet, the latter spearheaded entirely by the city’s administration and completed on time and on budget in September 2017 (CAN$141.7 million).

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.

Janet Marie Smith Master Talk

Janet Marie Smith was named Dodgers’ senior vice president of planning and development in 2012. Since then, she has overseen large-scale improvement projects at Dodger Stadium and Campo Las Palmas. Smith is best known for her work on the construction and design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which set the standard for a new wave of ballparks after its opening in 1992.

Mukul Malhotra Master Talk

Urban Designer Mukul Malhotra develops innovative solutions for the new American city. As a Principal at MIG, Inc. and Director of MIG’s San Antonio office, his award-winning designs have created thriving downtowns and historic districts as well as livable new communities and university campuses. His work has inspired urban revitalization, multimodal connectivity, sustainability, community inclusivity, and preservation of historic and neighborhood character.

Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan

The Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan focuses on creating a healthy, sustainable, and vibrant community that prepares for the future while preserving, enhancing, and celebrating the culture and heritage of Parramore. The Plan contains the community’s vision for their neighborhoods based on a set of Healthy Community Design principles, and provides strategies with short, mid and long term action items.

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.

Scioto Greenways

Rarely do you get a chance to completely change the way people view a city, but the Scioto Greenways project did just that, both literally and figuratively. The revitalized Downtown Riverfront project, which was led by the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC), not only provided a new view of the city, it also created a renewed sense of civic pride and excitement about the possibilities of the riverfront.

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.

Retro Districts: Leveraging Arts, Culture, and Heritage

In the resurgence of downtowns, cultural districts have become a highly effective catalyst for cultivating authentic mixed-use districts that encourage the people who have historically lived and worked in a place to be part of its future. Cultural districts can take many forms, but ultimately are successful because they are true to a place and its people. Learn about cultural districts augmenting the downtowns of San Antonio, Charlotte and Denver.