Maintenance and Beautification

Breaking Barriers: Innovative Approaches to Greening

Greening is a challenge for many cities. UPMOs can propel greening efforts forward through capital expenditures, public-private partnerships and property owner engagement. This session will explore innovative approaches to installing green infrastructure in downtown right-of-ways, when traditional options have been exhausted. Solutions include leveraging public-private partnership, reimaging the public realm and doing a complete and total overhaul.

The Future of Parks

Managing parks takes time, resources and people determined to succeed. From operations and maintenance to planning for programs and events, employing the assistance of cutting-edge technology can quickly yield results. Dynamic management systems can make every site a case study unto itself. The lessons learned from one park can be scaled and applied to other public places as well.

Eyesores to Eye Candy: How to Fight Blight

Every downtown faces the challenge of vacant and blighted commercial buildings. These problems often appear intractable and frankly beyond the reach of an urban place management organization. Learn how two cities decided to step up and tackle this problem head-on with a data-driven approach using both carrots (incentive outreach) and sticks (litigation). Hear about what worked well and what didn’t.

Bethesda Streetery

Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) unveiled the “Bethesda Streetery” in June 2020 as an economic recovery response during the COVID-19 pandemic. The open-air eatery featured an outdoor seating design with tables and chairs placed on closed streets in downtown Bethesda, MD. Streetery attendees were invited to “Picnic on the Avenue” after picking up food and beverages from any local Bethesda restaurant.

Dining on the Spot

The Dining on the Spot program, which provided expanded outdoor dining options when indoor seating was closed early March and April, was directly responsible for keeping Downtown West Palm Beach restaurants in business. In addition to creating a mechanism to continue serving customers, the DDA also provided funding for equipment rental and a branded signage program for restaurants participating in Dining on the Spot.

Memphis South City Good Neighbor Grant

The South City Good Neighbor Grant’s purpose is to help property owners and businesses in the South City Neighborhood make exterior improvements to their properties. Improvements to the existing businesses and important places within the South City community significantly impact the pedestrian experience in a neighborhood largely reliant on public transportation and alternate mobility options.

Bedford Street Piazza

To support struggling restaurants, DSSD worked with a multi-department team from the City to implement StrEATeries within one week of re-opening the state to outdoor dining. The initiative created ~1,000 outdoor dining seats beyond those typically allowed on the city’s sidewalks through two complementary approaches.

Make It Bright on Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue, the world’s most famous street and the centerpiece of New York City’s holiday splendor brightened the Big Apple like never before with Make it Bright, a new campaign that takes two-holiday staples – toys and lights – to a new level.

Halloweek

Downtown Vision designed Halloweek as our first foray into holding safe events and promotions during the pandemic. This multi-pronged holiday celebration allowed us to promote and support Downtown Jacksonville’s small businesses and to create socially distanced, family friendly events for Halloween week 2020. Three key elements composed Halloweek: Decorating Downtown, Driving Traffic to Small Businesses, and Creating a Socially Responsible, Family Friendly Event for the Community.

Advancing Places: Talking Snow in the Summer Heat

While most of the nation is sweltering in record heat, many of us in the operations world are already in deep preparations for winter weather. Representatives from Cleveland, Denver and Edmonton will discuss the preparations they undertake to be ready for winter weather, specific areas of management and responsibilities, and the partnerships they depend on to keep their districts accessible and safe throughout the winter months.

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: Planters, Parks and Greenspace

The relationship between greenspace and the urban environment can have a profound effect on a district’s public space. This webinar will focus on how a team in Austin, TX raised the standards of urban horticulture in their area.  Panelists will discuss how to implement sustainable methods for planting downtown, from starting up a program and identifying partners to plant selection, soil science and innovative tools for management.

Advancing Places: Parklets

As public space becomes increasingly more valuable, the community interest and benefits of parklets have steadily increased throughout 2020. Generally defined as people-friendly spaces which introduce street furnishings (in street) curbside, parklets are providing respite and generating revenues in their communities. Panelists will discuss the process to put together and maintain parklets of all kinds in their district.

311 to Salesforce Integration Project

The DowntownDC BID worked with its contractor, Cube84, to integrate the BID’s instance of Salesforce-based database to the District of Columbia’s 311, non-emergency hotline. The BID works to monitor elements of public space such as sidewalks, streetlights, and street signs to help ensure they stay in a state of good repair. The BID reports defects in public space to 311 (referred to as cases) and works directly with the city agencies to ensure repairs are made in a timely manner.

19th Street Rain Gardens

The Golden Triangle BID installed 11 bioretention cells and 10 expanded tree boxes on the sidewalks of one of the neighborhood’s key streets. This project is the result of years of planning, partnerships, advocacy, & fundraising. At over $1 million in construction costs and 2 full blocks of new green infrastructure, this is the largest capital improvement managed by the BID thus far.

Downtown Organic Waste Diversion Pilot Program

In 2017 the Downtown Kitchener BIA formed a Waste Task Force Committee. This Committee worked towards finding solutions for managing waste in our core. Through membership surveys and feedback, Clean Team 2 was launched; a successful program focused on moving garbage away from King Street and several side streets. Clean Team 2 is another beautification effort to improve the curbside appearance and embrace the funding invested in restaurant patios.

Fence Art Activation

The Fence Art activation started in 2019 and is an ongoing activation that thrives to bring beauty and art to the downtown area. The art is installed in areas that are fenced off due to development, construction, safety, etc. The art itself is sourced from a local artist and is built by community members, along with the artist. The message is in the art. Art should be an expression that can be absorbed by anyone within the community.

Bloor Annex Parkettes

This project was initiated to improve the pedestrian experience along the popular Bloor Street and create new beautiful and environmentally conscious public places to sit, rest, and enjoy the outdoors. It involved the transformation of four underused paved right-of-ways into a series of new dynamic green spaces. These parkettes feature trees, pollinator-friendly gardens, wood decking, bike parking, and custom site furnishings.

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.    

New Development Meets a Neglected Neighborhood

Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation developed a framework for investing in a place-based inclusive economic and social development strategy centered around Congress Heights. It was built on extensive community engagement with a broad variety of stakeholders, from large developers to local youth, to city economic development officials, to local civic association members and more.

Transformation of 16th Street Mall

While considered the spine of downtown Denver, by 2016, the Mall’s image had become one of a place overrun by homeless and violent individuals. Comments on social media and media reports led to a general perception that the Mall was lost to crime and homelessness and not a place to visit. However, what most of the public did not realize was that the Downtown Denver Partnership had already been working with stakeholders to develop a Security Action Plan (SAP).

Alley Events & Activation

Downtown alleys—traditionally characterized as dirty and dark—present a unique opportunity for transforming unusual spaces into memorable public experiences. The Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) pursued a broad placemaking program to activate underutilized public spaces (such as alleys). Termed “ACTIVATE,” the initiative transforms iconic Loop alleys into pop-up urban experiences. The events feature art, music, and more in unique urban settings.

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.

Surviving the Retail Apocalypse: Designing Storefronts that Sell

While retail retreat dominates the headlines, examples abound of innovation in storefront design, visual merchandising and unique experience for customers. This panel will demonstrate components of storefronts to help them sell – from doors and windows, to lighting, visual merchandising and more. Innovative approaches to design will be highlighted including activation of vacant storefronts and the public realm around them, and creative approaches to funding projects.

Pop-Up! Retail

As cities continue to grapple with storefront vacancies, short-term retail concepts are becoming essential to re-establishing the density of commercial districts and creating new, affordable business opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Find out how cities are supporting pop-up retail and dining by lowering barriers to entry for small businesses through regulatory incentives and comprehensive pop-up retail programs, with examples from California and Tennessee.

Optimizing Operational Efficiency and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Global warming is a real concern and each of us has a responsibility to limit our carbon footprint – especially businesses. Typically, improvement districts use gasoline-powered equipment to augment manual labor cleaning efforts. Panelists will introduce alternative ways to achieve your clean and safe goals, and make a case for alternative options related to equipment that will reduce your carbon footprint and operating costs while improving efficiencies.

Lights, Creative Economy, Action!

Ever wonder what it takes to put on a great event that fundamentally dials up your downtown revival efforts? Hear from practitioners who are executing innovative placemaking strategies that drive economic development and engage the creative economy – both day and night.

New ‘Outside the Box’ Approaches to Homeless Services

Often, place managers approach homelessness as a nuisance to be abated through things like “hostile architecture,” but often find this counterproductive. Some districts are exploring new approaches to serve people experiencing homelessness with programs like pop-up public toilets and social media videos to reunite families, to more expansive social worker interventions and eviction prevention strategies. This session presents ideas and spark discussion on compassionate and inclusive approaches.

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.

From Creation to Curation: Inclusive, Experimental Approaches to Furniture

Outdoor furniture can fundamentally shape the way people engage with a public space. But curating furniture that addresses a place’s unique needs, characteristics and culture can be a challenge. This presentation highlights how different place managers empowered artists and designers to craft furniture that elevates the public space and connects it to the surrounding city.

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.

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.