This presentation covers some of the issues in the Bold Placemaking Top Issues Council.
Vancouver Mural Festival and Downtown Vancouver BIA’s year-round placemaking projects range from small to significant activations with many partners. Pitching innovative ideas to properties and businesses can prove challenging, but Canada’s first public Augmented Reality festival did just that as it launched amidst a pandemic in 2021.
Explore the implementation of placemaking projects and use of tactical urbanism traffic calming funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies Asphalt Art Initiative in mid-sized cities throughout the United States. This session will include a deeper dive into logistics, challenges and successes experienced in Richmond, Virginia.
Through small urban contextually appropriate projects, urban acupuncture and the archeology of local knowledge facilitate social and physical changes in the larger context beyond the district. This type of placemaking technique serves as a catalyst for the regeneration of dormant social networks and capital exchange.
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.
Guillermo Bernal is the Executive Director of Fundación Placemaking Mexico and Board Member of PlacemakingX. With ten years of experience, he has worked with over 200 public spaces in Mexico, Latin America, and Spanish-speaking communities worldwide, focusing on creating participatory and sustainable communities.
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.
Let’s Glow SF is a 10-night holiday activation, the largest holiday projection mapping event in the country. Shows were played in a continuous loop with custom music starting at 5:30 pm and ending at 10:00 pm. Each light show ranged in length from five to seven minutes. Let’s Glow SF received wide media praise for its innovative use of art and technology to bring visitors and workers back to downtown, which had been suffering under the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
In October 2021, Partner Tulsa and Downtown Tulsa Partnership unveiled a 15,000sf mural titled “The Majestic” on the five-story façade of the Main Park Plaza garage in the center of the Downtown Tulsa Art Deco District. TPA collaborated with the Tulsa Arts Commission and Downtown Tulsa Partnership to undertake this public art commission focused on reinvigorating with activity and interest. At the time of the unveiling and today, The Majestic is the world’s largest augmented reality mural.
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.
Gallery Alley began as a temporary pilot project with the goal of creating more walkability and increasing safety. Downtown Wichita received a grant to reestablish the space as a permanent destination for an intersensory art experience. Five Kansas artists were commissioned to create sculptures with a multi-sensory approach in order to be accessible to those with vision as well as those who are blind, visually impaired, and for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
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.
For decades, there has been a deficiency of park space in the downtown core. Recognizing this gap, the City of Edmonton set aside 1.7 hectares of underdeveloped and vacant land in west downtown to be the future home of a central downtown park in 2026.
The DTSF ArtBox gallery is a collection of 26 traffic signal control boxes wrapped with vinyl artwork from artists of all abilities from the area. Proposals were solicited in many languages, resulting in 176. A jury ultimately selected 66 artists, who were all paid stipends for their work.
As part of our DELIGHTFUL DOWNTOWN lighting installations, we developed a new light projection series that is being displayed onto the former Halifax Memorial Library building at Grafton Park from October 2021 until the end of March 2022. The series features a total of 12 different light shows over five months that changes to reflect relevant seasonal, heritage and cultural themes. Each month comprises of a main show that is accompanied with a shorter show.
The Allegheny Overlook, or ‘AO,’ was a brand-new pop-up park that transformed a portion of Fort Duquesne Boulevard in Downtown Pittsburgh, highlighting live performances, arts, and culture while showcasing one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic riverfront views. The pop-up park reimagined a peripheral boulevard and an underutilized riverfront park in the city’s urban core, creating a more vibrant Downtown in a city rebounding from the effects of the 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.
This presentation focused on three cities (San Francisco, Berkeley
, and Los Angeles) and how they identified challenges the pandemic presented to their downtowns and strategies being implemented to fuel the recovery. Challenges include the increase of homelessness and violence related to the civil unrest; lack of pedestrian traffic and downtown workers; and the role safety, security and cleaning played during the pandemic. Learn what strategies were implemented and positive outcomes achieved.
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.
We have an opportunity to use experience, a pandemic and data to inform how we cultivate our greatest assets, our people. Before we can “reopen” our districts (as if they were ever closed), we must address the anxieties, fears, languishing, burnout and uncertainties of the past year. If we don’t, then we are asking people to walk out of a burning building, shake it off and build a new building. We can do better.
Discover how a downtown pedlet program in Montana and streeteries in Maryland promoted local placemaking efforts, created public spaces, and spurred an outside dining movement that increased business revenue, supported local business, and created jobs. Attendees will gain the knowledge of how to establish these programs in their communities, learn of the wider economic impact in a downtown commercial district and how these can be viable tools in the post-pandemic recovery process.
Dive into what makes a memorable experience and ways to drive value for local businesses through a curated passport platform. From identifying your assets to thinking about all aspects of your downtown experience, level up your programming with these unique tips. Learn how Tampa has driven measurable spending and supported local economic growth through their downtown passport program.
Marc Chagall said, “Great art picks up where nature ends.” Public art in cities transforms public spaces, connects people and revitalizes communities. Hear from three cities utilizing the power of public art in ambitious ways, inspiring long-term positive change. Any community on any budget can benefit from the strategic targeted implementation of public art.
The session will focus on public art murals in our downtowns with an emphasis on public and private partnerships to help finance the murals. Included will be simple instructions on how BIDs can manage the process for mural installation with an emphasis on regional artists to complete the murals and gaining access to funding and the walls in your community.
How can mixed-use downtowns build on learnings from COVID-19 to enhance the public realm and boost commercial vibrancy? This session explores opportunities for BIDs to adapt pilot projects developed in the last year (shared/pedestrian priority streets, temporary plazas and outdoor dining) into long-term initiatives to increase foot traffic, retail activation and entice office tenants to return to the workplace.
What is placemaking? Why do we activate spaces in our districts? Join this panel discussion and learn from three practitioners whose focus is placemaking and activations. Learn how they manage their time, create workplans, measure ROI and develop relationships with internal staff, city partners, businesses, and residents. We want to take this opportunity for you to participate and we encourage attendees to bring questions and share best practices with the audience.
Brighten the Passage is a public space and infrastructure improvement project aimed at consciously rebuilding physical and sociological connections between downtown Milwaukee’s central business district and the Historic Third Ward neighborhoods – connections that have been severed for decades by the elevated freeway. The project enhancements are practical and impactful tactics that included large-scale murals on the freeway support piers and dynamic, programmable color changing LED lighting.
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.
Throughout history, downtowns and town squares have served as the foundation of society’s freedom of expression and the center of community discourse. Downtown Tulsa is certainly no different. At an incredibly tense time in our community, and in the midst of planning for unprecedented events, we found an opportunity to showcase Downtown Tulsa’s core values on temporary canvases.
“Shadows at Sixth: An Elevated Halloween Drive Thru” is unlike any event seen in Little Rock before. Held in a multi-level parking deck in downtown Little Rock, this drive-thru, family-friendly event was created to bring joy and fun safely to Central Arkansans in a time of uncertainty and isolation.
The SODO Track is transforming the portal to Downtown Seattle—a two mile transit corridor lined by industrial building backs—into an imaginative raceway of art in motion for over 50,000 people to experience daily. What was once an industrial zone is now a world-class art destination and a fitting welcome to the international city Seattle has become.
VMF Winter Arts is a free, augmented reality experience transforming public space across Vancouver’s downtown core into a free, interactive, open-air gallery. Winter Arts showcases the talented work of 26 artists and animates over 20 downtown public spaces in a completely new way. Blurring the line between the virtual and physical worlds, VMF Winter Arts highlights the convergence of art and technology to safely engage and connect art and people in public spaces over three weeks.
Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Times Square Arts presented Messages for the City in partnership with Poster House, PRINT Magazine, and For Freedoms. First debuted on April 17, 2020, this Times Square and citywide public art campaign featured artist-designed PSAs and messages of love, gratitude, and solidarity with New York City’s health care and essential workers.
Rosslyn, Virginia is a community of over 25,000 employees and 15,000 residents who work or live in the buildings that make up Arlington’s iconic skyline along the Potomac River. Dozens of large, top-tier companies like Nestle, Microsoft, Deloitte and Gartner call Rosslyn home, so when the pandemic hit, the Rosslyn BID quickly began re-envisioning the future of work in Rosslyn, not only for employees, but the Rosslyn residents that were now working from home.
Street Show Artists Unite for Justice was a virtual expansion of our street performance program that produced live streaming shows from our regular slate of street performers, as well as specially recorded and edited “Street Show Gems” that were taped at quintessential locations throughout downtown Minneapolis. Following George Floyd’s killing, all artist payments were matched by Mpls DID contributions to social justice organizations selected by the participating artists.
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.
The World of Winter Festival is a two-month long festival that takes advantage of Michigan’s cold climate to provide interesting ways for people to experience and enjoy the season. This Festival aspires to make Grand Rapids a more active winter city, making Grand Rapids an active year-round city by hosting all activities outdoors in public spaces. All programming and activities are FREE, socially distanced for these pandemic times and geared for both families and adults.
The Black Lives Matter Mural Project in the summer of 2020 enlivened and supported DowntownDC at a pivotal time for the community. This project beautified public space in the Gallery Place-Chinatown neighborhood with 35 outdoor murals, shifting boarded-up storefronts (due to inactivity because of COVID-19 and compounded by unrest and uncertainty related to social justice protests) into inviting, vibrant and hopeful spaces.
In lieu of our traditional, “one night only” tree lighting event, Portland Downtown, Hood® Eggnog, and Portland Public Library launched something all new for 2020: a 24/7 live-streaming “tree cam” overlooking an iconic downtown park called Monument Square. The cam created a virtual window so that visitors locally – and across the globe – could enjoy the illuminated tree & its surroundings anytime, anywhere throughout the holiday season.