Urban Planning

Joy Shigaki Master Talk

Joy Shigaki began her tenure in 2022 as President & CEO of Friends of Waterfront Seattle which stewards Waterfront Park, a new historic 20-acre civic investment that will be the catalyst in reimagining, recreating, and rebuilding the Seattle downtown.

Lori Healy Master Talk

Lori Healey is Senior Vice President, Executive Project Officer for the Obama Presidential Center (OPC). She is leading work to build and operate the OPC, a 19.3-acre campus within Jackson Park, that includes a Presidential Museum, Auditorium, Restaurant, retail store, Fruit & Vegetable Garden, playground, lush parkland and greenspace, and a new branch of the Chicago Public Library. 

Downtown Gainesville Strategic Plan

Through close collaboration with the Gainesville community, MKSK developed a Strategic Plan for Downtown Gainesville that aligns with and complements current plans and initiatives, builds on existing assets, uplifts adjacent historically African American neighborhoods, supports new residential and business opportunities, and focuses on specific steps for implementation.

Hudson Street Redesign

The Hudson Street Redesign transformed a seven-block corridor in Hudson Square on Manhattan’s lower west side. Part of the Hudson Square BID’s first 10-year neighborhood streetscape plan, the improvements were made possible by an unprecedented partnership among the Hudson Square BID, NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT).

Equity Forward Action Plan

National Landing BID’s DEI-focused plan sets forth a roadmap of actionable goals for the BID, its businesses and the greater National Landing community to work together to build a more inclusive community. Working with these stakeholders and businesses, the BID will seek to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of business operations.

CIP Campaign

The language of community improvement plans (CIPs) are typically highly technical and demand specialist knowledge to parse funding regulations, bylaws, and zoning restrictions. Consequently, the City of Hamilton sought to create a clear, inclusive, and narrative-focused approach to promoting the City of Hamilton’s suite of CIP incentives to small business owners, developers, property owners and entrepreneurs.

Downtown San Francisco Public Realm Action Plan

The Downtown San Francisco Public Realm Action Plan was commissioned by DSFP, the community benefit district serving the city’s Financial District and Jackson Square. The plan emphasizes place-based, pedestrian-oriented strategies focusing on creating a resilient and inclusive downtown to counter fallen pedestrian traffic from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public Safety Initiatives

Clean and Safe has long played a central role in place management, but public safety has taken on increasing importance amidst the protracted return to work, increases in homelessness, and efforts to square law enforcement practices with demands for social justice.

Top Issues Council Brief: Parking & Mobility

This report brief provides updated guidance on, best practices for and resources in mobility and parking including curbside management, mobility hubs, land use and transportation policies, managed and paid parking impacts on businesses, and parking management tools.

Advancing Places: Equity in Action

Learn how NewTown Macon, Inc. has taken the community-driven planning process a step further and empowered the public to implement their next comprehensive plan by leveraging resources from the local philanthropic community. 

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. 

Housing – The Next Engine of Downtown Opportunity

For the past two decades, North America has faced the most urban housing market since WWII – offering unparalleled opportunity to transform housing into a powerful tool to enliven downtown streets, attract talent, create innovation districts, expand fiscal benefits, and yield similarly rich dividends for downtowns, cities and regions they lead.

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.

Opa-Locka Downtown Master Plan

Despite a 2016 bankruptcy, political instability, and widespread stakeholder skepticism, the Opa-locka Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) launched a 2020 Downtown Master Plan to reverse downtown’s decline. The plan started to overcome past failures by creating public/private partnerships (P3).

Parramore Asset Stabilization Fund: New Directions in Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization

In 2018, the Parramore Asset Stabilization Fund (PASF) was formed as a collaboration of three high-performing nonprofits with the goal to transform affordable rental housing into sustainable quality homes. PASF purchased 83 residential units across 44 properties in Orlando’s African American Parramore neighborhood, with a commitment to renovate units and keep rents affordable for existing tenants. While delayed due to COVID-19, the project was successfully completed by December 2021.

Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan

The Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri (DTC) had just begun a strategic planning process when COVID-19 brought things to a standstill. The events of 2020, including economic uncertainty and the elevated recognition of racial and social inequities, allowed the DTC and its partners to ask critical questions: how can we fully engage the community, and how do we ensure that the strategic plan ensures that downtown’s opportunities provide meaningful and tangible benefits for everyone?

Lake Eola Park Master Plan

Located in the core of downtown, Lake Eola Park serves as centerpiece for downtown and for Orlando. The Community Redevelopment Agency worked to master plan this valuable asset, re-envisioning it for the next 50 years. The process leading to the final master plan considered the place of the park in the context of the downtown, city, and region, along with a thorough analysis its surroundings, and an evaluation of how Lake Eola Park compares to other iconic parks throughout the country.

Gilbert Heritage District Design Guidelines

Gilbert’s Heritage District (HD) is approximately 0.3 square miles in size, serving as the community’s downtown, entertainment district, and the cultural/historical center of the community. The intent of the HD Design Guidelines is to foster design excellence that encourages a pedestrian-oriented and adaptive environment that serves as the community’s historic living room. Gilbert initiated a review of the 2010 guidelines by holding meetings which included staff and a diverse steering committee.

Reading Downtown Strategic Plan

The confluence of a rich architectural legacy; vibrant downtown communities; and the advent of unparalleled change unlocked an unprecedented opportunity for downtown to again lead its region toward a more economically competitive, equitable, livable, and resilient future.

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.