Urban Planning

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.

Union Square-14th Street District Vision Plan

The Union Square-14th Street District Vision Plan is a long-term vision for the district and a comprehensive plan for USP’s future capital investments and public programs. The plan is a collaborative project driven by community input and developed in coordination with design consultants led by Marvel. The project kicked off in September 2018 as a multi-year neighborhood visioning and planning initiative and launched in January 2021.

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.

Downtown Toledo Master Plan

The Downtown Toledo Master Plan was undertaken as a collaborative and inclusive process, assembled by a broad coalition of public and private sector leaders desiring to improve a struggling downtown. The public was encouraged to participate in three public meetings, submit ideas online and visit several pop-up community input locations, resulting in more than 1,000 ideas and comments. The plan created a community-driven vision for future growth that has led to the dramatic revitalization of downtown Toledo.

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.

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.

Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority Gateways Initiative

Completed in fall 2020, the Downtown Gateways Initiative created distinctive arrival experiences using signage, landscaping, hardscaping, lighting, public art and wayfinding at each of the nine vehicular points of entry to Downtown Colorado Springs. This intensive process incorporated qualitative input and engagement from more than 300 unique contacts and stakeholders.

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: Capping & Bridging Expressways

Expressways cut through communities and stand as barriers to connectivity, economic development, equity and neighborhoods in our downtowns. Learn how a partnership between ODOT, Columbus and the community developed and implemented a nationally recognized infrastructure model using freeway caps and enhanced bridges to stitch neighborhoods together and address the critical topics of quality of life, mobility, economics and opportunity.

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: Connecting with Downtown Neighborhoods

We often inherit a complicated relationship with the neighborhoods adjacent to the traditional downtown core. Those adjacent neighborhoods are sometimes very different in history and composition – the buildings are likely older, the land is less developed, and the community less affluent. The neighborhoods may be separated from downtown by historic and political barriers, including racist and exclusionary policies and years of broken economic development promises.

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: 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: 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.

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.

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.

Downtown-Adjacent Neighborhoods: Opportunities, Threats and the Current Moment

With the urban renaissance of the last two decades, many downtowns are now bordered by districts that have evolved either into extensions and/or competitors to the traditional core. In this session, panelists will explore the ways in which UPMOs have been addressing this phenomenon through the three ‘lenses’ of retail, connectivity and equity, while also placing it within the context of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and other current events.

Strategies to Advance Equity and Racial Justice in the Place Management Industry

Join IDA’s Inclusive Places Council (IPC) to explore specific actions place management organizations can take to advance equitable development and racial justice within the industry and in the cities where we work. Hear from a panel of experts and practitioners about the work they’ve done and the challenges they’ve faced around equity and inclusion in the place management field.

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.

Whose Road is it Anyway? (ATCM)

Space is at a premium. The hospitality sector needs to expand outdoors to be viable due to new capacity constraints, pedestrians need to spread out to physically distance and the car continues to be viewed as a key mode of transport with public transit usage declining this year. How do we manage these conflicting interests? Who gets priority to use our roads?

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.

Project Downtown: Celebrating 10 Years of Implementation

The Master Plan for Wichita is a 15-year community vision and blueprint for development in downtown Wichita, KS. The plan was adopted in December 2010 and has served as the community’s north arrow since then. The plan was founded on market economics with industry experts providing sound economic forecast information for commercial and residential development. Since then, the market potential in each of the real estate sectors has been frequently updated for accuracy.

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.

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.

Greening Lab

In a city with a nation-leading park system and leafy neighborhoods, downtown has been the gap in our tree canopy for generations. Trees cover 30% of Minneapolis overall, but only 4% in the downtown core. This is significant for our community because street trees are an invaluable resource for improving public health, addressing the heat island effect, and creating an inviting public realm.

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.

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.

The Rail Park: A Railroad and Neighborhood Story Wall

The Rail Park is an adaptive reuse of the Reading Viaduct, once used by the Reading and Pennsylvania Railroads, and a hub for hundreds of rail lines. At the entrance to the park is an 80-foot long “ghost map” wall that provides a dramatic visual reminder of what this industrial neighborhood once was, and the fascinating stories and significant architecture that merited its placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: It’s Not Just About Cars Anymore

The advent of smart and shared transportation systems, spanning from automated shuttles to electric scooters, is rapidly changing mobility in our downtowns. From creating loading zones for rideshare pick-ups, finding space for expanded bike share docks, and defining micro-mobility parking zones, to re-purposing travel lanes, designing shared spaces, managing increased shipping + deliveries, and removing parking requirements, downtowns across the country are handling new challenges creatively.

Housing Attainability in Downtown Portland

In recent years, housing costs in Portland have been rising as the city becomes increasingly attractive within the State of Maine and as compared to other regions nationally. There has been little development of new housing affordable to current Portland residents and very little construction of new housing at all between 2007 and 2014. To address the issues of housing availability and affordability the City of Portland adopted a host of strategic policies and initiatives.

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.

Downtown Mobility Planning: Connect Downtown

The Greater Des Moines Partnership collaborated with the Iowa Chapter of the Urban Land Institute and the City of Des Moines to seek transportation improvements that could help increase downtown vibrancy. Collectively, the organizations analyzed existing conditions by measuring a multitude of metrics such as traffic counts, bicycle usage, pedestrian traffic, ease of crossing at intersections, sidewalk connectivity, bicycle facilities, connections to trails, lane widths, and number of accidents.

Making the Switch: Branding the Organization

In 2011, the Downtown Denver Partnership acknowledged the need for a cohesive brand for downtown Denver and embarked on a branding campaign that encouraged residents, visitors, and employees to enjoy all that downtown Denver had to offer. The downtown Denver brand was already beginning to surface organically as the city emerged from an economic downturn, and the Partnership embarked on creating a strategic marketing strategy to more intentionally encapsulate the place brand.

Looking for the Missing Middle

This session is devoted to one of our most challenging economic development topics—how to build middle-market housing in your downtown/urban community. Throughout the US, cities are struggling with this missing middle challenge. Without a solution, cities are left with high end luxury and low-end affordable housing. This panel brought together a developer, a public agency, and local planning expert to discuss middle income housing from three very different perspectives.

Responding to Retail Disruption

We hear about it every day. We are living in a period of “Retail Disruption” and its impact on our downtowns is being felt in ways big and small. This session will cover a wide variety of ways in which businesses are finding creative ways to survive and thrive considering changing shopper preferences and the growth in on-line shopping. We will hear from both downtown practitioners and retail experts who will share their research and hard lessons learned during implementation, including on-line/omni-channel shopping platforms and the creation of local makerspaces aimed at both supporting entrepreneurs and offering shopping “experiences” that rival what can be found on-line.